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Michael Abernethy: Freedom of religion is not politically incorrect

SCV Voices

Posted: May 6, 2009 8:29 p.m.
Updated: May 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.
In his letter in the Monday, May 4 edition of The Signal regarding Santa Clarita City Councilman Bob Kellar and “In God we trust” being added to the city logo, Tom Nickols refers to this as an “out of date, politically incorrect, bigoted slogan.”

Wow, I bet the former government of the Soviet Union or the government in present day China would agree as well.

Scary times for a society that uses these terms to describe belief in God.

Since when has freedom of religion and the expression of that religion become politically incorrect?

Why is it that if I believe in God and choose to use my given rights to express that belief publicly, I am then called a bigot? Can I not claim that the person calling me a bigot is not in fact behaving as a bigot?

I am tired of the politically correct people of today attempting to rewrite history. Nickols claims “that the founding fathers were at least more than likely atheists” and that God was later added to the Constitution.

Was God later added to the Declaration of Independence? No, God was in the founding fathers’ hearts and minds. Freedom of religion and the expression of that religion was also in their hearts and minds.

The total separation of church and state today in this country was again not in the hearts and minds of our founding fathers.

Look at history, read the documents and put them into context of that moment in history.

What was in their hearts and minds was that there couldn’t be a state religion.

That is a very different concept than there can be no mention of God. Remember, the Constitution’s framers lived in a country were many people came to escape the “Church of England,” i.e. Maryland was a colony with the majority of the population being Catholics looking for a place to live their faith openly.

The founding fathers abhorred the idea of a state-sponsored religion, as there was in England at the time or in the countries of the Persian Gulf today.

So the framers started with no state religion.

Sometime in the 20th century it changed to “separation of church and state” and today people like Nickols are calling it “bigotry, politically incorrect and anti-cultural diversity.” Wow, have we gotten off track.

He states that this country and this city were made by human spirit alone.

Again, history rewritten. The human spirit was absolutely a driving force but so was individual faith in God and a desire to serve Him.

Begin with the very names of the ships Christopher Columbus sailed to the new world (Santa Maria and Santa Clara, nicknamed the Nina).

The Declaration of Independence signed on July 4, 1776, mentions “the laws of nature and of Nature’s God,” “Endowed by their Creator,” and finally, “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world.”

Look at how California was explored and mapped by Spanish missionaries, who also mapped our very own city.

And I hate to tell everyone Santa Clarita is named after a Catholic saint. So please don’t tell me faith or God has nothing to do with it.

The name of that God is still well-remembered by the majority in Santa Clarita, and in America for that matter. What many people do not know is that religion has given us many good institutions that make up the very fabric of our nation and the world.

You only need to look at hospitals and universities of higher education for proof.

Does this mean they are perfect or without sin? Absolutely not. No human spirit whether it trusts in God or not is without sin.

I will beg to differ with Nickols in that it wasn’t God or religions that brought war, religious cleansing, corrupt politicians or child-molesting priests to this world.

Those came from the people following the drive and greed of their own human spirit and hedonistic desires, people who lost their moral compass if they ever had one. Just look to Wall Street today.

I am not sure whether adding anything to the city logo is a good idea. However, I am appalled to be told that my religion should be kept out of sight in churches and far away from schools and our city, state and national identity.

How dare you say, Mr. Nickols, that your atheistic view commands more rights than my Christian religion (or my friends’ Jewish faith, Muslim faith, and so on)?

I think the founding fathers would have had a big problem if the state-sponsored religion were atheism!

By the way, it won’t make you any safer from the religious fundamentalists who think we believe in the wrong God.

They hate atheists more than anyone else but really it’s not about God with them, either.

It’s about power and control and their human spirit losing its moral compass.

Let’s have a discussion on the validity of changing the city logo based on fact, without the name-calling and fear-mongering.

Michael Abernethy is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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