Stop forcing faith on others
I am a retired Episcopal priest, and one of my struggles with my fellow Christians is the seeming immaturity and shallowness of faith that calls them to try to force their faith on others. They attempt to stamp public places and events with their personal symbols of piety (“Lawsuit filed over Oklahoma Ten Commandments monument,” Jan. 16 Local & State).
Nearly always, because we are not a “Christian nation,” or a nation defined by any specific religion, such aggressive attempts at evangelizing or proselytizing bring a legal challenge by those faithful to the Constitution of the United States. That foundational document ensures the freedom of all religion but prohibits the establishment of any specific divine credo as superior to or more favored than any other. Why do these Christian aggressors keep trying to thwart the Constitution?
Besides, the Ten Commandments are Jewish. If the state is spotlighting Judaism, then let it also remind citizens of the Christian Beatitudes taught by Jesus. Also, the Five Pillars of Islam need to be placarded. Other religions might then offer their basic tenets for state glorification. Of course, those devout followers of Santa, and those who deny any God, would need to be accommodated. There surely would soon develop an overflowing “memorial garden” honoring all man’s religions. It would seem the simplest way to avoid such clutter would be to deny any particular religion any special place in or around any public facility.
Let us be the secular nation our forefathers bequeathed us. Let us pray in our homes, worship in our churches and synagogues and mosques, and let our “public facilities” remain public and nonsectarian. I honestly believe that’s the way the Lord I worship would have it.
Regarding “Stand up to Israel” (Jan. 15 Letters to the Editor): I hope the letter writer will have the opportunity to really get acquainted with Israel, the land and its literature. In the meantime, here are some examples offered by Seth M. Siegel, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, to counter the absurdity of invoking “apartheid” to the situation in Israel:
The valedictorian of the most recent graduating class at the medical school at the Technion (Israel’s MIT) was a Muslim woman. Israel is the only country in the region in which the Christian population isn’t falling precipitously. Israel’s Arab Christians make up about a third of Israel’s pharmacists. The Golani Brigade, an elite Israeli army unit, recently appointed Col. Rassan Alian, a Druze, as its commander. Salim Joubran is an Israeli Arab who serves on Israel’s Supreme Court.
Also, Sayed Kashua, an Israeli Muslim, has become one of the most important contemporary Hebrew writers.