Don’t abandon freedom of religion
To the Editor:
I see where Michael Flynn, former President Trump’s National Security Advisor, is calling for us to have “one religion” in the U.S., presumably Christianity. As a retired Presbyterian minister, I would like for all to find what I have in the Christian faith. However, my family’s history makes me have qualms on having one “official” religion even if it is Christianity.
In France, from which my ancestors came, King Louis XIV made Roman Catholicism the official religion of that country. My ancestors were Protestant and experienced persecution from the government. Protestant pastors were arrested and hanged. Protestant churches were torn down, up to 100,000 Protestants were killed in the “Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day.” I blame Louis XIV for this, not the Catholics.
Catholics, themselves, have been victims of prejudice and violence in many countries, as have Christians, Jews and Muslims.
This is what happens when government favors one religion over another. That is why our nation has, as one of its foundation principles, the “separation of Church and state.” That is why my ancestors came to this country and settled in South Carolina, where they could have freedom of religion rather than have a particular brand of religion forced upon them. Let us not abandon that freedom!
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Religion has caused more damage in this world than all weather events in history. it's anachronistic, breeds hatred of 'the other,' and causes unending misery. Right now, in the world, the Chinese government is torturing the Uighurs because the are Muslim, the Taliban, ISIS, and other groups are causing suffering in Afghanistan, and here, in the US, hate for 'the Other' is growing by leaps and bounds. Religion is basically a club where participants must all believe the same, or be shunned. My religion is kindness, and it doesn't need a leader or a building to practice.
Freedom of religion also implies freedom from religion. Keep religion out of our schools.