March 2019 Church & State Magazine | Viewpoint

By Corey Murray, Hillsdale Daily News staff writer

As a devout man of God and Christian beliefs, an American patriot, combat veteran and journalist, I see the benefit to following the basic principles our Founding Fathers set forth when declaring a separation of church and state.

The United States of America is a melting pot of various cultures, religions and people.

While political leaders in this great nation must never forget their religious values, they must set aside their religious convictions when shaping municipalities, states and our nation.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a city planning commission meeting where it was determined a medical marijuana business must not open on Sundays until noon in observance of church times.

In fact, one member of the planning commission was adamant a permit not be granted without this stipulation, while the remainder of the board did not seem to care one way or another.

This sole member, set in his ways, was able to persuade the board to adopt the hours he wanted in observance of church hours.

As a devout man of God and Christian beliefs, an American patriot, combat veteran and journalist, I see the benefit to following the basic principles our Founding Fathers set forth when declaring a separation of church and state.

The United States of America is a melting pot of various cultures, religions and people.

Corey Murray

PHOTO: Corey Murray. CREDIT: Hillsdale Daily News.

While political leaders in this great nation must never forget their religious values, they must set aside their religious convictions when shaping municipalities, states and our nation.

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a city planning commission meeting where it was determined a medical marijuana business must not open on Sundays until noon in observance of church times.

In fact, one member of the planning commission was adamant a permit not be granted without this stipulation, while the remainder of the board did not seem to care one way or another.

This sole member, set in his ways, was able to persuade the board to adopt the hours he wanted in observance of church hours.

As a Christian, I find this commendable, but setting aside my own personal convictions and taking an unbiased approach, I find the action troubling.

The Christian religion is followed by only 30 percent of the world’s population. While that percentage may be higher in Hillsdale County, which is a predominantly Caucasian Christian community, politicians must find true representation of all the people, not just a percentage.

Why not limit hours on Friday nights to observe synagogue hours or Saturdays for other religions? Why must we let one religion in a land of many dictate business hours which have nothing to do with the church?

It is my belief this action was not only unjust, but unnecessary. Are we going to limit the hours of established pharmacies and other businesses in observance of the Christian church? Probably not.

The same concept applies to our public schools. If we are going to allow one religious organization to distribute religious materials to our children, we must allow all of them instead of picking and choosing based off our own personal convictions.

The United States of America is a land of many freedoms. These freedoms include the right of each and every individual citizen to make his or her own choices and live the lifestyle they so choose.

While I find it important as a Christian to go forward and spread the gospel, I also find it important as a patriot to allow other representatives of other religions to do the same.

Imposing our religious views on the masses through these types of unjust actions is not the way to win souls or grow the fellowship. It is my belief this does more harm to the church and Christianity as it creates resentment and turmoil.

The key to winning souls is through tedious, one-on-one testimonials. These testimonials allow our neighbors to hear our firsthand stories of how God has shaped our lives and the small miracles we enjoy day to day.

Our politicians, whether local or national, elected or appointed, must remember that they represent the entirety of the people they are sworn to serve.

Maybe, just maybe, we can ease the growing rift among Americans, for united we stand and divided we fall.

Corey Murray is a staff writer for the Hillsdale Daily News in Hills­dale, Mich., where this column first ran.