Letter: Let's keep church, state separateI sincerely appreciated John Kern's thoughtful letter titled "Majority, don't impose your beliefs just because you can."
By: Phil McNairy, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
I sincerely appreciated John Kern's thoughtful letter titled "Majority, don't impose your beliefs just because you can." Its frank, factual content made great sense. (R-E, Sept. 19)
At the same time, I found myself thinking about the comments of a "religiously conservative" friend of mine who said, ‘I’m going to vote 'no,' because this is a religious question not a legal one."
Since the formation of the United States, we have prided ourselves on the fundamental principle of separation of church and state. This means that the state should not support or attack a particular religion or religious belief as it had done in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. To attempt to constitutionalize someone's religious or denominational beliefs would seem to contradict the intent of our forbearers.
My conservative friend is right. The question of marriage definition is religious and not all denominations define it the same way. In fact, a survey of our Judeo Christian heritage would suggest that marriage between one man and one woman was not always the Biblical norm, but only a more recent (in terms of centuries) social convention for many religious belief systems.
I would urge everyone to hold fast to their religious beliefs, but not try to impose or legislate them on others, an action contrary to the idea of church/state separation upon which our country was founded.
Think of where this could lead. Think of where it has led in other countries.
Phil McNairy is a retired Episcopal priest.