Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

December 4, 2012

Church and state both better off when kept separate

Regarding the recent letter by Gary Kimmell (“Is the separation of church and state a two-way street?” Nov. 28 Times-News). 

Church and government are better off when they are kept separate. I don’t think atheists are afraid of God, as Mr. Kimmel contends, but they would simply rather not see overt displays of religion made by their government.

The same holds true for non-Christians. Members of minority religions are marginalized and excluded when their government publicly supports the majority religion. And there are many Christians who believe that involvement of religion in government corrupts both.

 No group I’m aware of, no matter how liberal, says that the church cannot guide people how to vote. The role of religion is to instill values and morals that naturally effect one’s voting choices.

I think what Mr. Kimmel is referring to is the IRS mandate that clergy cannot politicize from the pulpit. This does not mean clergy cannot speak from the pulpit concerning issues — clergy just cannot endorse a candidate.

However, if the church wishes to give up its tax exempt status then that church can preach what it wishes from the pulpit.

The last half of Mr. Kimmel’s letter can be summarized by his belief that without religion or a God a person cannot live a moral life.

What nonsense. There are many atheists who live very moral lives while at the same time there are many believers who live very immoral lives.

Ed Joyce

Morrisville, Pa.

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