Letters to the editor, April 18

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Bedrock of society

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America starts with two clauses that form the bedrock of our society.

The first clause, the “establishment” clause, very wisely establishes the principle of freedom from religion. Congress is prohibited from making any law that would respect or legitimize any “establishment” of religion, formal or informal. This protects each one of us from coercion to join, practice, recognize or otherwise participate in any religious activity if we choose not to. The Supreme Court of the United States has consistently ruled that this means any governmental body must not formally or informally endorse any religious activity.

The second clause establishes the freedom of religion. It protects every person in this country’s right to worship or not worship any way they want, even if it doesn’t square or conform to any person or governmental entity’s concept of what the “true religion” is.

This means that the Puritans, who came to Plymouth Colony to escape religious persecution in England and Holland, cannot compel Roger Smith to conform to their standards, except that they could, until the First Amendment.

The invisible “wall” spoken of by Thomas Jefferson, who was not a framer of the Constitution due to being out of the country as ambassador to France, is powerfully erected by those expert rhetoricians who composed the powerful words of the Bill of Rights.

Franklin “Mac” Poe,
Denton


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