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Leland Waldrip

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Religious Freedom?
By Leland Waldrip   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Posted: Wednesday, January 03, 2007

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One would think that men of good will would not seek to disestablish a protection for the practice of religion in liberty and freedom. Yet some would do so in the very name of religion. Perhaps the protection of the religions of others is not their agenda?



James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, appeared on Larry King Live on Nov 22, 2006 and attacked the wall of separation between church and State. He vehemently asserted that “The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. It’s not in the Bill of Rights. It’s not anywhere in a foundational document. The only place where the so-called ‘wall of separation’ was mentioned was in a letter written by Jefferson to a friend. That’s the only place.” He went on to rail at length against public acceptance of Constitutional validity of “the wall.”

 

Duh!

 

Of course, those specific words aren’t necessarily in the Constitution. A computer search of our founding document for “separation of church and state” won’t find them. Neither will it find words like “a system of checks and balances,” “right to a fair trial,” “no taxation without representation,” “one man, one vote,” or other time-honored Constitutional concepts but each of these is spelled out in various Articles and sections of the document. As Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black explained in one landmark church-state case, “The Constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to” meddle in religion. This is the “separation of church and state” and our “religious freedom depends on it.”

 

Jefferson, Madison, and the other founders provided a functional guidepost for our country based on great wisdom about the relationship between government and religion, between the ideas and proclivities of men oriented toward each or neither. But when little men attempt to revise the work of giants, all manner of mischief can be done. It occurs to me that the Dobsons of the world may be so used to forming opinions based on literal extractions from the Bible that they can’t grasp the concept of Constitutional concept. Simply put, they can’t see the forest for the trees. Pronouncements from such men are not thoughtful and are dangerous to the freedom to practice your religion (or not) as you wish.

 

A headline for that sorry November episode might read:

“Dobson hits THE WALL, Bloodies Nose.”

 

© 2007 R. Leland Waldrip

    
 

Web Site: Rappahannock Books


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Reviewed by David Perry 9/20/2007
Well said. I believe the Constitution says something like, "The state shall establish no religion." The idea being to avoid state-mandated religion, thereby helping insure religious freedom, including freedom FROM religion if the individual so chooses. The steadily increasing erosion of our constitutional rights is the greatest threat we face in America.
Reviewed by Alexandra* OneLight*® Authors & Creations 1/10/2007
Quite frankly, my dearest friend, as this 21st century (not counting all the centuries actually occurred before…) “advances”, I find myself within the very uncomfortable grasp of this feeling of going backwards… - you know, like when one is walking on a treadmill and suddenly finds it is actually running in the opposite direction of one’s step, or when one tries to climb escalators which are actually going down. In fact, I do believe that this escalating obsession with religion – religions – which runs hand in clammy hand with other forms (with precisely the same blinder-wearing fundamental nature) of intolerance / fanaticism, is having the effect of steadily taking mankind backwards… and down the slope, into the abyss. At this rate, we’ll be back to grunting, bashing away at one another with clubs or femoral bones, and scratching our flee bites while huddling inside the caves, in no time at all… or maybe we are already there, if in seemingly more sophisticated versions of all of the above. The unfortunate reality, my friend, is that, all in all, genuine progress is not being achieved – and does not seem to even be attempted – in any of the areas which really make us advance, such as responsibility (the one that really leads to and induces freedom), education, and, yes, honor. I remember – although this all seems so far away… - when men and women would say “I swear upon my honor”… and, even if many of them still failed to keep their oath, at least it was their honor (a form of personal responsibility), as men and women, that was at stake – and not a whole generalizing and all-encompassing concept (strictly “political”, strictly “religious”, etc.) embodied in some book or label… rather useful, when it comes to flourishing it in front of (and hiding) one’s face, either in attack or in defense, and say “hey, look who’s to blame here!”. Whew… I hope I have not been excessive – and digressive… - with this long rant, but constantly swimming upstream – and through rapids, too… - is becoming rather frustrating… hum… let’s see… who should I blame… George Washington, George Orwell (all pigs are equal, but some are more equal than others... who said that, the town's butcher?, the Holy Inquisition, Karl Marx… Groucho Marx, my neighbor’s cat (a Persian… that’s in the East, right?!), Descartes (who?) or Dr. Phil? LOL!

Many {{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}} and lots of love,

Alexandra*
Reviewed by Ronald Hull 1/7/2007
Once again, Leland, you hit the wall on the head.

Ron
Reviewed by - - - - - TRASK 1/6/2007
They'll All Simply Committ Suicide!

TRASK
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 1/4/2007
I have no clue who this Dobson is...but interesting write...thanks for sharing anyways Leland!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor (Reader) 1/3/2007
Too bad it isn't open season on idiots like Dobson, Roberston, Fallwell, and a host of other inbred morons.

Elizabeth
Reviewed by Joyce Devenish 1/3/2007
I don't know Dobson, I'm Australian but I agree with everything you've said. I wish I had your knowledge but it's good that I can read your thoughts somewhere like this. Thank you. Best wishes. Joyce
Reviewed by Malcolm Watts (Reader) 1/3/2007
Good thoughts Leland. Dobson is one of those guys who favours religious freedom of choice in the manner Henry Ford first offered "choice" with his cars - "Any colour you want so long as it is black." You are quite right that the founders of your constitution were intellectual giants who sorted out a system of govt that, while not perfect, is quite astonishing for its protection of freedoms and checks and balances of the branches. All the best. Malcolm

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