May 2016 Church & State - May 2015

Can Businesses Believe?

  AU admin

Businesses Don’t Have Religious Rights

I appreciate reading the article “Finding Their Voices,” (April 2016 Church & State). It’s a fine article. But this bit of phraseology bothered me: “Businesses with religious objections….” We should be vigilant in pointing out that businesses do not have religions objections – ever. Rather, owners and/or managers of business may have religious objections.

I realize that there could be an argument of economy of speech (e.g. more verbose to say “Businesses owned and/or managed by objecting religionists…,” but using verbiage that falsely conveys credibility to the idea that businesses are capable of possessing “religions objections” is exactly what religionists want us to do and runs counter to our liberties and what is right.Jaime HunterKeller, Texas

 

Appreciation for AU’s Legal Brief

Thank you for filing a brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of women who might lose coverage for contraceptives if the legal challenges succeed. (“Finding Their Voices”). I do not think that any entity – for-profit business, house of worship or any other organization – has the right to exclude birth control coverage. This discrimination against women must be stopped, and I’m thrilled that Americans United will participate in this battle to protect women’s rights and religious freedom.

Colleen VetterPiedmont, Calif.

 

Book Review Too Soft?

I write about your uncritical review (two pages!) of Susan Jacoby’s book Strange Gods. Did you find no problems with this book? 

The review neglects to mention – is there also no mention in Jacoby’s book? – Roger Williams’ advocacy of the principles of soul liberty and separation of church and state.  Roger Williams (minister, theologian, Baptist, seeker) established Rhode Island as a place of refuge for Jews, Catholics and those of other beliefs – again, soul liberty, envisioned and practiced by a person of strong religious faith. Jews were here in the United States in Newport because of Roger Williams’ commitment and courage in building a (the?) model of freedom of religion.

Mentioning the separation of church and state and the First Amendment without crediting people of faith such as Roger Williams and the Danbury Baptist Association and John Leland and Thomas Jefferson is a grave oversight. Was it yours or Jacoby’s?

In addition, tactically it might be wise for Americans United and Church & State to be sensitive to members and subscribers who are people of faith, many of whom support AU because of their faith.  I invite you to look at Garry Wills’ review in The New York Times.

Elizabeth MyersScottsville, N.Y.

An American Original

Is the separation of church and state in the Constitution?

Absolutely. The separation of church and state is baked into our founding documents and our system of government.

The “wall of separation between church and state” is an American original. It’s an American invention. We should be proud of that fact. And we should fight any disinformation that threatens this ideal.

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