"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Letter in Roanoke Times: "In America, religions thrive"

As a comment on the situation in Roanoke, Virginia, I submitted a letter to our local paper The Roanoke Times. Today, that letter was finally printed. I am reproducing it here in full:
In America, religions thrive
The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors has long held a sectarian prayer at its meetings. This practice has been challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a local complainant ("Group targets prayer at meetings," June 24). At a recent rally, it was expressed that the FFRF was assaulting the religious liberties we value so deeply. But are they?
A little more than half the population of England declares religious affiliation, while in the United States only 15 percent declare no affiliation.
However, there is no separation of church and state in England.
The Anglican Church is deeply attached to the government, with positions in Parliament, religious instruction in schools and anti-blasphemy laws on the books. Why are there so many non-believers in England?
"Separation of church and state" are dirty words to some believers, but entangling government with religion damages both.
This is why many English citizens view their Anglican Church as an outmoded institution.
Meanwhile, American religion is strong, bold and diverse.
This is precisely because we don't entangle our government with our churches.
Protect religious freedom — ask the supervisors to stop breaking the law and end their sectarian prayer practice.


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