Keep Up The Good Fight, Americans United

While I am sorry to see Barry Lynn retire after such an illustrious and productive career at AU, I was heartened to read Rob Boston’s column which gave me assurances that AU will continue to be strong and fight for what is right (“A Holiday Classic: The ‘War On Christmas’ And The Nostalgia Trap,” December 2017 Church & State).

His recollections of Christmas of several decades past in a small town brought back memories for me growing up in a small farming community in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Like Rob, my attitudes have changed over the years, and I am pleased that we are a much more inclusive society than we were when I was young – but, of course, there are many miles still to travel.

I have been a staunch believer in the separation of church and state since my college days, and as a historian of modern European history, I know what has happened when the two are united or religious bigotry spreads through a society. I lectured on the Thirty Years War and told my class it was probably the most brutal conflict in European history.

So, we will keep up the good fight. And, who knows, there may be more good news, progress and hope after what occurred in Alabama in December.

—Roy T. MatthewsWashington, D.C. 

The ‘Good Old Days’ Weren’t Great For Everyone

Concerning Rob Boston’s December “Perspective” column: To millions of Americans, our country’s Golden Age is immortalized in the revered Norman Rockwell’s canvasses, which illustrate an innocent society where teenagers never got other teenagers pregnant, where lynchings of blacks in the South were non-existent, where no one drank beer or wine (not even on Thanksgiving Day) but only water and where there were no disabled persons anywhere to be seen.

Yet how many women in those ideal days, I wonder, wished they could have launched careers in business, academia or politics, instead of being forced by tradition to be stay-at-home moms? And how many people attended church every Sunday for the very same reason?

Yes, that was America’s Golden Age, a lovely place indeed … in the realm of fantasy.

Oh, if only those who long to return to their “perfect” world of yesteryear would step aside and not obstruct the work we need to do to improve the imperfect (but real) world in which we live.

—David QuinteroMonrovia, Calif.

Is AU Too Hard On Trump?

I am a longtime supporter of many of your goals. I strongly support the Johnson Amendment, and would probably support the elimination of ALL tax breaks for religious organizations. I am a retired professor of U.S. constitutional law and civil liberties, as well as of U.S. foreign policy.

I am an agnostic, a philosophical libertarian and a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who returned to the U.S. and earned a Ph.D. under a prestigious fellowship at one of the finest universities in New York City.

I am greatly offended by your continuous ad hominem attacks on President Trump and his administration. Rob Boston wrote in his January “Perspective” column (“It’s Time To Take A Stand: A Misguided President Can’t Trump Our Values”) that the Trump administration is based on “homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, xenophobia, thinly veiled racism, hate, fear, jingoism and divisiveness.” I can find many similar attacks on other members of his administration, and even on well-qualified judges in your publication – most without any empirical evidence to justify said attacks.

You really need to know that not every one of your supporters is politically to the left, as most of your staff seem to be. You should consider occasionally presenting articles from writers who have a different political philosophy but who still strongly believe in the separation of church and state.

—Harvey Goldstein, Ph.D.Punta Gorda, Fla.

Editor’s Note: We appreciate your letter. It is not AU’s intention to alienate anyone, but we believe the Trump administration represents a grave threat to the separation of church and state, and that this is backed up by the president’s public comments, tweets and, most importantly, his actions since taking office. For more on this, please see Liz Hayes’ article “365 Days Later” in the January 2018 Church & State.

Congress needs to hear from you!

Urge your legislators to co-sponsor the Do No Harm Act today.

The Do No Harm Act will help ensure that our laws are a shield to protect religious freedom and not used as a sword to harm others by undermining civil rights laws and denying access to health care.

Act Now