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  • Morning Bell: Why Does Religious Freedom Matter?

    Last weekend NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg inadvertently created a mini-controversy when she said on Inside Washington: “I was at — forgive the expression – a Christmas party at the Department of Justice.” Some thought that Totenberg added “forgive the expression” as a cave to political correctness. But in fact Totenberg was actually mocking the Obama Justice Department. It was the DOJ that had officially called the event Totenberg attended a “holiday party” and Totenberg later told The Washington Post: “I think that’s kind of silly because it’s obviously a Christmas party. I was tweaking the Department of Justice. It was a touch of irony at the expense of the Justice Department, not at the expense of Christmas.”

    So how did we get to the point that the Department of Justice can’t call a Christmas Party a Christmas Party? As part of The Heritage Foundation’s Understanding America series, Director of Domestic Policy Studies Jen Marshall explains:

    Today, the religious roots of the American order and the role of religion in its continued success are poorly understood. One source of the confusion is the phrase “separation of church and state,” a phrase used by President Thomas Jefferson in a widely misunderstood letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut in 1802. Many think this means a radical separation of religion and politics. Some have gone so far as to suggest that religion should be entirely personal and private, kept out of public life and institutions like public schools.

    That is incorrect: Jefferson wanted to protect states’ freedom of religion from federal government control and religious groups’ freedom to tend to their internal matters of faith and practice without government interference generally. Unfortunately, Jefferson’s phrase is probably more widely known than the actual text of the Constitution’s First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

    Far from banishing religious expression from the public sphere, the authors of the U.S Constitution intended the First Amendment to ensure that religious believers and institutions could freely engage in politics, policy-making, and helping form the public’s moral consensus. In fact, the American Founders considered religious engagement in shaping the public morality essential to ordered liberty and the success of their experiment in self-government. Marshall again from Why Does Religious Freedom Matter?:

    Freedom of religion is a cornerstone of the American experiment. That is because religious faith is not merely a matter of “toleration” but is understood to be the exercise of “inherent natural rights.” As George Washington once observed: “[T]he Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” And “what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator,” James Madison wrote in his 1786 Memorial and Remonstrance. “This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.”

    The model of religious liberty brilliantly designed by Madison and the other American Founders is central to the success of the American experiment. It is essential to America’s continued pursuit of the ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence, the ordered liberty embodied in the Constitution, and peace and stability around the world.

    So this holiday season, rest assured that there is no constitutional ban on keeping the “Christ” in “Christmas” or displaying manger scenes or menorahs. And if you find yourself at a “holiday” party, don’t be afraid to put on a smile and wish everyone a “Merry Christmas.” The Constitution protects your right to do so, and the Founders would have wanted it that way.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    60 Responses to Morning Bell: Why Does Religious Freedom Matter?

    1. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      Merry Christmas

      KJ

    2. Doc Bob Meaders says:

      Easy solution: Delete Christmas vacation for organizations, schools, etc. that don't recognize Christmas.

    3. Charles LABounty Mer says:

      Karl Marx was against religion, the family unit and capitalism. These are evils to keep the poor man down and in line he believed.

      Since he wrote this philosophy in the mid-1800's, I'm quite sure the religion that came to his mind was Christianity.

      The far left in our Country are mounting an assault against Christianity, not because of the 1st Amendment but because it furthers the cause of so called "progressivism.

      Mr. Obama loves the words "progress, collective, and central".

      Why is that?

    4. DavidT says:

      I'm coining a new word …Theophobe – def. Those who fear religion or anything to do with religions!!!

    5. DavidT says:

      The word is based on Theology or the study and application of religion.

    6. Albert Youna - Chica says:

      Dear Sirs,

      My wife and I make it a habit whenever or wherever we are to wish people a Merry Christmas, not happy holidays, it is surprising how many people then realize it's OK to reciprocate in kind. We don't encroach on any other people or their religion beliefs when they celebrate their religious days, nor do they have to practice political correctness as has been the case of late with Christians.

      So to all a Merry Christmas, and have a blessed Happy Healthy New Year

      Albert Youna

    7. M. Beck - Connecticu says:

      Why is it that Conservatives, of which I am proudly one, have been hijacked by the religious?

      I am proudly Atheist and feel no need whatsoever to have a bible or a Koran or a Torah or anything else shape my moral compass. I am more than capable of making that decision for myself.

      One of the founding principles of this nation has always been "Don't Tread On Me…" I interpret that as allowing individual freedom to rule supreme. Having a religion dictate how things should go 100% treads on me and to me is hardly any different than what is going on in Iran or any other nation where religion rules. We went into Iraq because George Bush said that "Jesus told him to." Give me a break. We went into Iraq for a million reasons, most of which were wrong and atop that list was because "Jesus told him to."

      The idea of saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas is to acknowledge the fact that there are THREE religions celebrating something at this time of year and it is presumptive arrogance to say that all of them should be ignored for Christians. This might be a shock to many of you, but there are other faiths and other people out there who's feelings matter as much as yours do.

      Frankly, I could care less what ANY individuals' faith is. That's what's great about this nation is you can choose to believe whatever you like. The theory is there should be no judgement for it, but the truth is that that there is PLENTY of judgement to go around as I'm sure the comments that will condemn me following my posting her will prove…

      If you believe the Christ story and that makes you happy, more power to you. Just remember that there are others out there who don't and they have just as much right to believe what they do as you do to believe what you do. That is the reason that religion shouldn't be in schools or anywhere in the government sector. NOT establishing a national religion is the glue that holds this whole nation together.

      Anyway to all of you out there, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

    8. Doug Kupersmith, VA says:

      Happy Festivus everybody!!

    9. Ole Prof says:

      Unfortunately, the courts have interpreted the Establishment Clause overly broadly. In effect, they've done what Congress is prohibited by the Free Exercise Clause from doing.

    10. toledofan says:

      I think the real problem is the lack of understanding regarding our history and the Constitution in general. It's obvious to me that the progressives, liberals, communists or whatever we want to call them always want the easiest way out so they don't have to explain anything or anger anyone. If you look at the double standards and all the doulbe speak over the past two years it's flabergasting. How can grown adults be so stupid. These people only want boundaries when it convenient with them, as soon as something gets out of hand, say like the borders, they just turn and walk away, not our problem and if you want o fix it just naturalize everyone. That would only work until some illegals moved next door to Pelosi, Reid or any of the other elites.

    11. Donald Thorin says:

      The worst phrase in the history of the United States: "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS"!

      That phrase alone has led to compromising history in text books, altering the education system, curtailing our daily lives, misinterpretation of the Constitution,

      misunderstanding of the foundation of this nation, our ideals and beliefs. This list goes far any and every thing imaginable. The founders of this nation would incarcerate or even sentence to isolation for life or even more drastic. We now have Supreme Court Justices that do not relate the Constitution to the Declaration of Independence.

    12. John Matthews, Shrev says:

      The framers of the Constitution were brilliant enough not to force any religious beliefs on the populace. This document gives the people the right to worship as they please, and, not establish a "State Religion." The governments, local, state, and federal should refrain from religious displays of any kind. We need to repect the rights of all by not granting preference to any one religion or denomination. I fear for this country if any religious belief is enforced. Would it be right if whoever is the sitting President would have the right to establish their particular beliefs on the masses? You want revolution? Establish a "State Religion."

    13. Mary............WI says:

      Merry Christmas Heritage Foundation! Thank you for keeping Americans engaged on what is happening in our country and encouraged that we will take back our country as the founding fathers……freedom.

    14. Greggrey Cudworth. H says:

      The free exercise of religion is not just a fundamental right of the constitution; it is a fundamental necessity in a constitutional republic. The morality of a nation demands the insertion of Godly values and virtues for without man is left to his own to decide the issues of right and wrong. Over the centuries of recorded history when ever man has move in the direction away from God, he has proven his inherited ability to do wrong every time. It makes no difference whether the ACLU and the atheist community agrees or not; history has proven man's incapability to do good without God. Reasonable people, whether or not they are believers, would embrace this truth instead of attempting to destroy it.

    15. Don,Texas says:

      And we find ourselves today having to defend our Christian heritage all because of political correctness, and politicians and judges that wanted to take the easy way out……………Oh what the heck! Lets give this one athiest what he wants. I'm tired of listning to his idiotic complaints.

    16. Dave Wolven Hemet Ca says:

      Thank you for taking a stand on keeping Christ in Christmas.

    17. Dave Wolven 25283 W. says:

      Thanks for your stand on keeping Christ in Christmas.

    18. DGHarrison, Minnesot says:

      It occurs to me that should the anti-Christian zealots succeed in pushing Christians underground, we would no longer participate in a public Christmas. Before that happens, perhaps we should pick a year to skip a commercial Christmas to show them what it would be like when the majority of people in the nation stop playing the game of spending money on Christmas activities. We would buy no manufactured goods whatsoever for "holiday" gift-giving, and instead, just observe Christmas privately. In other words, we just take our Christ and go home. Businesses that normally only break even during the "holiday" shopping season might close out the year in the red. Instead of closing just for Christmas Day, perhaps those stores will be closed forever.

      I am reminded of my salad days, when I was in the Air Force stationed overseas. On occasion, conditions in the off-base bar districts became so bad that for the safety of the troops, base commanders would close the gates. Within hours, the businesses off base would be clamoring for us to reopen the gates and let our troops out to spend money. Their economies would nearly collapse without our biweekly paychecks to keep them afloat. The locals would then, for a time, maintain order with anti-crime sweeps.

    19. Gerold Martin, Lawre says:

      And the effort to implement Sharia Law in America? It is not a law voted on by any American citizen or legislative body. Sharia Law does not recognize your religion, or even your Constitutional rights.

      Where did the idea of 'Considering the laws of foreign nations' come from? If we allow a man to beat his wife, under Sharia Law, should we allow Satanists to have human sacrifice? Ridiculous you say, but a teenage girl can be buried alive or tortured before being executed,…by Sharia Law.

      We CANNOT consider foreign law in our court system. MUST not!

    20. Everett Pearsall says:

      You are correct, in fact at the time of the adoption of the Constitution several states, Massachusetts among them, had a state religion. The amendment clarified that the Federal Government could not impose its brand of religion on the states, hence the phrase "Congress shall not" etc.

    21. Dennis Georgia says:

      America and the world have gone to far, political correct has run amuck with everyone. It has gotten to the point where people are afraid to express their true feelings and their faith for fear of hurting feelings, or worse being accused of intolerance. Freedom of religion was one of the founding principals of America, it will continue to be of great importance, each is free to worship in what ever way they desire, or don't worship. Where it all goes wrong is when the courts start interfering because of a vocal minority. If I want to worship as a Baptist, Catholic or Morman, it all comes down to my choice, if I want to wish all a Merry Christmas it is my right to say so, if your feelings get hurt, get over it. Politically correct has gone way to far. Put your feelings back in your pocket, get them off your shirt sleeves and shut up.

    22. laurie, Hawaii says:

      In fact, our original immigrants fled their countries for the very reason that our tyrants and "politically correct" characters are shoving into our lives and extracting our freedom of expression, speech and heart. They were not allowed to worship or show loyalty to God or whatever they believed in. They went through torture to come to this free land. Let us not let any agnostics or otherwise steal our freedom of faith and expression of it. First they(the government thieves) steal our property,, money, taxes, our hopes, dreams and last their attempt to punish us for the last thing that is invisible….our faith. DO NOT LET THEM DO THIS. RISE UP TEA PARTY PEOPLE. WE ARE THE PEOPLE!!!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Say it over and over with love.

    23. Everett Pearsall, Ne says:

      You are correct, in fact at the time of the ratification of the Constitution several states, Massachusetts among them, had a state religion. The amendment was to keep the federal government from imposing its brand of religion on the states. Hence the phrase "Congress shall not" etc.

    24. Gerald Reimer , Port says:

      AMEN,

      MERRY CHRISTMAS

    25. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Why does religious freedom matter? Because the United States, and other democracies, are the bane of existence for the last bastions of communism in the

      world. China, Cuba, Vietnam, Bolivia, North Korea, and Venezuela. It also matters

      because the jihadists and Islamists want to destroy it. There'll be no Christmas in

      Iraq tomorrow because the few remaining Iraqi Christians, dubbed "Crusaders" by

      al-Qaeda, don't want to advertise the fact that they're Christians. The want to stay

      in the closet. It's sad because the Middle East, the Holy Land, as it used to be known,

      was Christian up until the 7th Century AD.

    26. Russ Sebring says:

      There has been a lot of debate about the separation of church and state, but missing from the debate is civilization.

      But what is civilization? According to Webster, 1. Civilizing or being civilized 2. The total culture of a people, period etc. 3. The peoples considered to have reached a high social development. Civility; 1.politeness 2. Courtesy 3. A civil or polite act.

      Are we really civilized? If you said yes you haven’t read the newspaper or listened to the radio or watched TV for a while.

      In order to solve any problem, the cause of the problem must be found. I have chosen to start with our ancestors before they became civilized.

      If we look at today’s wild animals, we find that anything goes. They are selfish, greedy, deceitful, and anything else that promotes their survival. They also use violence to establish a "pecking order or their attempt to become the alpha male. Is human behavior any different?

      Today’s humans have a great imagination. Look at all the stories that have been written such as Harry Potter, Wizard of Oz, Star Trek, and many, many more. Did our ancestors possess that trait?

      When and how did civilization begin?

      Some form of communication had to be in place so as to transmit the belief of one generation to the next. Just how did the beliefs get started? Thunder and lighting can be pretty menacing, and not understanding nature, assumed that a spirit had caused it and that it was because of their action that displeased the spirit. As time went on more and more phenomenons were seen as caused by spirits which modified their actions. Because of their beliefs, "a crude form of religion" civilization was started..

      By the time recorded history was started religion was well established. And each nation had their own religion. With the same ideology the people had no problem with celebrating religious holidays. There was no one to complain that it was held on government property.

      When Christianity first appeared there was little tolerance for the new religion. As a matter of fact there was little tolerance for any thing new. Up to this time, religion was government sponsored and would continued until our constitution. Our founding fathers took the government out of religion while allowing religion in government. "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

      Even today, religions are keeping civil in civilization that is most religions. After all, what we believe in guides our lives. Civilization hasn’t been around long enough that we can eliminate intensive training to subdue our animal instincts.

      Multi-culture and diversity are fine if we develop a thick skin. Our country is a republic were the majority rule with protection of the minority. Sometimes the minority rule through the miss reading of the constitution. When the minority wants the majority to stop a pageantry etc. and the only reason is that it taxes their sensitivity. Then harmony is put on the back burner.

    27. Mike Fenton, Bakersf says:

      Merry Christmas to one and all

      and Peace to those on whom His favor rests

    28. Don H. Reuben, Ranch says:

      No one to my knowlege has ever accused Nina Totenberg of being profound

    29. Clearhead -- U.S.S.A says:

      "What fools these mortals be!" — Puck

      "What fools these P.C.s be!" — Americcans

    30. Robert, North Richla says:

      Sad, but these reminders of our decaying heritage do not start (or stop) with Obama. They have been woven into every aspect of our lives, our jobs, our schools and everything for the last 75 years. When you accept government money you condone all government spending. When you accept any pc guideline, you condone everything pc. We've got yeoman's work ahead of us, if we want to reclaim our incredible, God-given heritage. We are now a very small, very compromised minority.

    31. RogerC says:

      Why would anyone want to hear a greeting of Good Will? Or perhaps little children laughing and looking forward to Christmas, or lights and decorations celebrating the season and the birth of Jesus Christ? Much better to look down on those celebrating with a sour look and have for anything that is of a differing opinion than yours. Strange, Christians do not disparage those that do not believe, but accept them. It would seem that the dour attitude of those on the left makes them feel better about their sad pathetic lives. BTW, I am more Agnostic than a strong religeous person, but this is how I feel about the situation.

    32. Rita O'Keefe says:

      And a Merry Christmas to you!

    33. Melvin Chambless - P says:

      In the 2000 Christmas Season, I was instructed to take down my Santa Claus because it was inappropriate. However, there all the othere religions' symbols around the offices of the Large Business Examination Program's Offices. When I would not take it down, the next morning I found it destroyed and in my trash can.

      Our fax machine had a all button for Treasury and I faxed Christmas messages to all of the numbers. Since it was a few days to Christmas, I faxed a new one each day to the Treasurer fax list.

      Other Federal Agencyies had and (as far as I know) still have a restriction on displaying Christian symbols in the Federal Offices.

    34. Bre Cregor says:

      Amen! And MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!

    35. Bob-Woodinville,Wa says:

      Amen! I find it hard to understand why some people feel the need to make it their lifes work to try and crush christianity. I don't see all us evil christians trying to crush atheism. It might do well for some of the anti christians to step back and look at the quality of life that EVERYONE enjoys because of the way christians

      reach out and help people with challlenges. Ever hear of the ACLU stepping up to help someone in need? Probably not!

    36. joe saco me says:

      hugo black in 1947 declared separation of church and state,why is this never discussed?

    37. J. Guidry, Battlefie says:

      Stupid liberals, can't even read the 1st Amendment correctly. "Congress shall make no law, etc." is really quite clear. Leave it to the progressive/socialist/marxist/communist administration to get confused about its meaning. DOJ is not about justice, it is about special groups, and 85% of the citizens in this nation are not a special group according to how the DOJ behaves lately.

      Just saying. Maybe its just me, I don't think so.

    38. Lee, in Newburgh Ini says:

      I have a "document7277 ,that I copied from the web ,19 year ago. It represent the upcomming and ongoing "GLOBAL GOVERNMENT!" In this document it states that when this Global Government is in place , our country will be placed under the U.N. and will no longer have access to the protection promised by our constution. When our constitution is gone, we have will have no Religion or, freedom of speech etc.

      Our forfathers fought and died for the right to worship as we see fit. If we allow this right to be taken, Our Forfathers will have died in vain! WHAT NEXT WILL BE TARGETED?

      Lee Silen

    39. Juan Cardenelli says:

      So does this mean the Heritage Foundation supports the right of Muslims to build their community center near ground zero?

    40. Ben C. Ann Arbor, MI says:

      Merry Christmas Conn and thank you for all of your good work. You and The Heritage Foundation are appreciated by all of us.

    41. Rpoy Callahan - Gain says:

      I take issue with the comment that the meaning of Jefferson's statement regarding the wall of separation by church and state was misundersood. It wasn't. The justices who made this decision worked in cooperation with progressies to take God and our foundings out of the Public Square. That has nohting to do with "misunderstanding." Their action was deliberate and had a purpose.

    42. Rpoy Callahan - Gain says:

      You assessment of Jefferson's reasoning is correct but doesn't deal with the intent of those who "misunderstood" the meaning of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association.

    43. wally, Zion IL says:

      It is not the separation of Church and State but the separation of State and Church.

      This was to limit the authority of the State not the authority of the Church.

      But as always when poiticians become involved, reason goes out the window.

    44. Glory, Houston says:

      I don't think that any form of religion should be held high in the United States Government. The thought that our worldly lives are held at stake by a Leader, President, or member of Congress, etc, while he petitions some creature on high, is really rather disturbing…especially in light of what happens because of leaders doing this very thing in the world today.

      Leaders of countries should be worldly wise and able to protect what is considered precious. If a land of people are living under, around, or being included in the government, and all that the government represents, there must only be liberty, and business as usual.

      What does the government of the people, by the people and for the people represent? The people is what it represents. Its not a government of a god, or any other form of life which is worshipped, believed in or whatever anyone chooses to cling to.

      All of the people live and work, thus feeding themselves and the government that represents them. THis is why all of the people of age should be voting for what is best for all of the people. No god should be represented as all of the people in humanity are of different values, thoughts and needs. To think that a god somewhere is just watching the mess that has been created by believing in 'something out there somewhere' instead of being responsible for what they choose, and what kind of people they are teaching their children to learn to choose, is ridiculous and detremental to the whole of the entire Earth which

      obviously includes all living creatures.

      Nothing is more important than learning what is the most wise thing to choose.

      Have we not all been shown this … in the whole world.

      Glory

    45. angel (pa) says:

      I'm a Christian, I'll speak from that realm.__Religious freedom matters because its one of the basic fundamentals this Nation was Founded on, Freedom "OF" Religion, not Freedom from it, as some suggest. Revisionist theorist's, liberal theology and the NWO, have become the driving force who is pushing Christianity farther and farther away from the truth. If these atheists destroy our faith in Christ, the NWO stands a better chance at destroying the Constitution. With our Faith in God destroyed, our God given in-alienable rights depicted in the Constitution will be null and void. The NWO will then be ushered in. Its vital we stand up for our Republic and Christian Heritage now!

      God Bless what you here at Heritage do and I wish you a Very Merry Christmas!.

    46. and2therepublic, ill says:

      "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the States the powers not delegated to the United States. Certainly, no powers to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General Government. It must then rest with the States." – Thomas Jefferson – letter to Samuel Miller – January 23, 1808.

    47. Chroma41, California says:

      The Founding Fathers were very aware of the strife caused when religion and government co-governed and wanted to avoid that while still providing for the free expression of religion. After all, many who settled here came to be free from the tyranny of one or another overbearing religion.

      It is also well documented that once here, they then proceeded, in turn, to be constantly in conflict with each other; whippings, torture, public humiliation, banishment, imprisonment and hanging for heresy or even for preaching another religion are well documented facts of colonial life.

      But most Founding Fathers also believed, although Thomas Jefferson took exception to some of it, that all moral guidance comes from religion and thus religion must be protected as an underlying component of society i.e good citizens will be good stewards of the government.

    48. Nick, Chester County says:

      Reinforcing Jefferson's phrase was James Madison's explanation for the Separation: "The purpose of the Separation of Church and State is to keep from our shores, forever, the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries." Now what, pray, is "misunderstood" about that? Most of the leading Founding Fathers, many of whome were heavily influenced by the 18th. century European movement called The Enlightenment, characterized by relyance on reason and experience, rather than dogma, were deists, not Christians (they believed that the world was created by a supreme being, but from that point He left it alone and didn't micromanage it. They believed that He certainly never – either as Father of Son – interfered in the natural processes and laws of physics.) This can be seen from the fact that the Declaration of Independence refers only to "Creator" and "Nature's God," and that the Constitution, and its amendments, contain not a single reference to God at all.

      Jefferson also wrote that "the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the sureme being as his father will be classed as a fable" and "I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

      Wearying as it is to have to repeat this for the hundred thousandth time, but this is nothing to do with "Religious Freedom." It is to do with preventing the government – local, city, state or federal – from endorsing a religion. Every time some government entity puts up crosses, menorahs, 10 Comandments, etc. in or on a government building or land, they commit the offense of the very entanglment of church and state that the Constitution was designed to prevent. Go ahead and practice your own belief in the supernatural, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Shinto, Zoro Astrianism or, for that matter, astrology. Just leave the rest of us out of it.

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    50. Dinah Garrison Fairb says:

      I was married to an agnostic and even he believed that religion was important to the country. He said that people who were involved in churches brought moral guidance to everyone. (as per Chroma41) When we lose the privilege of free speech, are not able to say "Merry Christmas" because it might offend someone we are on that infamous slippery slope. I can understand why I might get a different response from someone if I say Merry Christmas and they are of a different religious faith. However, it is getting a cheerful reply, one that refers to any religion, that is the issue. And please don't call it tolerance. Where do I get the right to be tolerant? Maybe acceptance? Or see it as Bert and Ernie and the Cookie Monster did: cooperation. I'm OK with yours and you be OK with mine. That's much less like walking on a mine field all the time. This is good for all.

    51. Linda, Louisiana says:

      I am a Christian. Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Son of God.

      This Nation was built on Freedom of Religion. How have we gone astray? How have we let the words of Thomas Jefferson and the Constitution of the United States become so construed that there are no religious rights.

      God is our Salvation, and I pray that he will turn this world around.

    52. Greg B. says:

      Mr. Beck: Athenian belief is NOT just the denial of god. Is a denial of ALL moral characteristics. Because you are kind to your neighbor, friends, and relative, because you know sympathy, charity and respect is a result of the influence of religion, be it jewism, Christianity, zen, Buddhism or any of the other moralistic creeds that you have those traits. Had there never been the religions of "peace", society would be very different to day. Being an Atheist means absolving yourself of all the beliefs held and promoted by religions of "peace".

    53. June says:

      Nina should really try to get over herself; who actually cares what she did, or did not say?? NPR should be completely "defunded" by Congress and never given another taxpayer dime!

    54. Keggar, Eastern Oreg says:

      How long will it take people to realize that keeping religion and government separate makes both stronger? Religion should have no authority or influence over government, and likewise. The fact we are a secular nation MEANS religion does not have any power within government. Certainly, religion has influence in government – isn't that enough? Probably the main reason we have many thriving religions is exactly because religions and government are kept separate. Without that separation, one religion might take a position of authority within the government, and that would be at the expense of all the other religions and our government itself.

    55. Joan Squitieri, Colu says:

      Political Correctness has been a pox on this Country that I refused to be a part of in any way shape or form from it's inception. It is attempting to remove any vestige of Christianity from this Nation, it is attempting to change the way we communicate with one another by omitting words that have always been a legitimate part of our speech & it's putting the lives of all Americans in grave danger. The American people have got to stop following these absurdities like mindless sheep & use their own judgement as I did. If no one had ever adhered to political correctness it would never have gotten off the ground & no one would have been hurt by ignoring it as I've never been harmed by not using it. It's still a free Country & I don't need the government telling me how to speak or react to things that are so obviously dangerous to us as a people. Not profiling those who are looking to kill us is inane & extremely dangerous to our well being. Don't ever allow any ditsy bureaucrats talk you into believing they know what's best for us as a people, because they can't even do their own jobs let alone yours & mine. Americans are an exceptional people,we always were & always will be, now stand up & be counted.

    56. Byron Mullet says:

      The fact is, America was founded (invented if you will) by Christians not Deists. I will refer all of those educated on revisionist history lessons to the book," The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States of America", by Benjamin Morris. One thousand pages of letters, speeches and sermons by the founders and those who knew them, overwhelmingly proves this. If you take the time to read it, you will be humbled and inspired by their deep faith in God and His Son Jesus. They also were biblicists. It can be defended also I believe, that no other religion, but Protestant Christianity could have invented America.

    57. Ed. Jeffcoat, Lake B says:

      I see no reason why anyone should feel offended at someone saying "marry christmas". If they are not a christion or are atheist, so be it, they may state that and we will all go about our busness. But some seem to think that there is some RIGHT not to be offended. But don't see a problem with doing/saying things that they know may be offensive to a christions.

    58. and2therepublic, ill says:

      "The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity." – John Adams – letter to Thomas Jefferson – June 28, 1813.

      "I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament." – Benjamin Rush – letter to Elias Boudinot – July 9, 1788.

      "[Governments] could not give the rights essential to happiness … We claim them from a higher source: from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth." – John Dickinson – Signer of the U.S. Constitution; Governor of Pennsylvania; Governor of Delaware; General in the American Revolution – The Political Writings of John Dickinson (Wilmington: Bonsal and Niles, 1801), Vol. 1, pp. 111-112.

    59. D. Davis, Goleta, CA says:

      The words "Separation of church and state" do not appear in the Constitution. Those words were used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists.

      America has never had total freedom of religion. Indeed, there have been plenty of times when the courts have allowed limits on freedom of religion.

      Time was when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) believed in polygamy. The LDS Church was required to drop polygamy as a condition of Utah statehood.

      Parents are not allowed to keep their children out of school because they disapprove of teaching environmentalism, evolution, internationalism, sex education, and socialism.

      Christian Science and Jehovah's Witnesses parents are not allowed to deny their children medical care because of religious objections. Christian Science parents are required to submit their children for regular medical care. Jehovah's witnesses parents have always been overruled when it comes to blood transfusions.

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