I feel a need to rebut the commentary of Pastor King to my letter of March 13 regarding the teaching of the Bible as literature in our public schools. That was the first letter to the editor I have written in my 14 years in Steamboat. Here is my second, and I hope final.
First, I stand by what I wrote in my letter (I will recant the comment about the South -- the religious fundamentalists have spread throughout the United States.) It was very interesting to me to see a spin put on my own words, as I see this every day in the media.
Second, and most important, the idea of separation of church and state is in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The actual words are from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote standing up for the concept. "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law regarding an establishment of religion...' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." I urge people to read these letters. They show that Jefferson would fight today for this. He was a religious man, and his beliefs made him cautious of any established religion's power.
The concept of separation comes from the very First Amendment to the constitution.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press...." This was ratified in 1795.
"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and engrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man," Thomas Jefferson said in 1800.
Third, I knew from the original article that the "Bible as literature class" would not be mandatory. This was not an error on my part. It should not be a class at all. The only class should be comparative religion. I used the Euzoa name because that was in the article, but the pastor is correct that the push is multi-denominational. Still, the class is monotheistic.
Fourth, creationism. There is so much slanted information out there. May I compare it to the closing of the public's eyes to global warming? Ignoring science just isn't reasonable. Ignoring nature is just dangerous. My father wrote a book called "Faith and the Physical World: A Comprehensive View" in 1967. He is a physicist and a Christian. He believed God created the world through evolution. Sounds reasonable to me. He says, "what is a day to God? It could be a million years! God doesn't have to work in 24-hour days, as we know them." To take the Bible so literally is not reasonable.
Fifth, the misogyny in the bible and most organized religion. Don't get me started. Just look at history and talk to many women disenfranchised by the church's beliefs. It took our "Christian-influenced" government until 1920 to let us vote.
I am mostly against Dogma. The Bible must only be brought into school as a group of represented beliefs. If you were to teach the history of the bible, would you bring up how the books were picked and chosen from many more books by religious clergy supporting their own dogma? You would if it was comparative religion, which is what it should be, if at all.