Originally created 01/12/04

Religion suffers when mixed with politics



Concerning Richard Lathan's Jan. 7 letter, "Whatever name you use, God is God":

I will not argue against Mr. Lathan's thesis that God is God - no matter what name he, she or it is called. I agree with the theology there. However, what matters in this case is not that those who worship all worship the same God, but that we have differing religious traditions. Southern Baptists certainly have different traditions than Unitarian Universalists, and Hindus have different religious traditions than do Shiite Muslims. There are several reasons I do not want the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls, or "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

First, when the government chooses to honor someone else's religious tradition over my own, it is telling me that my traditions don't count as much.

Second, I feel that such displays are more to show who has power than they are to really honor God.

Third, I feel that the proper place for religious instruction and worship is in the temple, church, synagogue or home - not to be forced upon people of other traditions.

Finally, I believe that these matters are an attempt to replace a democratic republic with a theocracy. Theocracy is really a misnomer. From the Greek, it means "rule by God" but, in practice, it is rule by clerics (such as the ayatollahs in Iran) or self-appointed "prophets." They always become corrupt but, unlike democracy, no dissent is allowed. Government is about politics, not religion. And when the two are mixed, religion suffers.

Doug Martin, Evans, Ga.