Jon Kennedy
Jon Kennedy

Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
the Nanty Glo in My Mind'

Actually, it's the Left that's promoting
an establishment of religion

There's been no end to the essays and columns accusing the Christian right of trying to impose their religion on America. As a bonafide member of that much-maligned minority, I hereby confirm and affirm that I have never seen or heard anything by any responsible Christian suggesting that we want to impose anything on anyone. We do exercise our right as citizens to advocate the kinds of laws we think are in the national and local interest (such as laws against drug traffic, pornography dissemination, child abuse including aborting them, etc.). I'd say it's even our responsibility, whether on the right, the left, or the muddled middle, to do that at all times in all jurisdictions we find ourselves citizens of. Anything less would be unAmerican, poor citizenship and stewardship, earning us an F in civics, as they called it in the day, and citizenship as they call it in some schools now.

I'm sure many leftists think the Christian minority want to impose Christianity on the nation and all its citizens, despite the fact that the foundational sources of Christianity (the Bible and the church) teach that such a program is itself unChristian. One becomes a Christian, and continues to practice that religion, by personal persuasion (and that of the Holy Spirit) alone, and never by coercion or manipulation. There are manipulative Christians, no doubt, just as there are simpletons in any cross-section of people, but responsible, educated, voting Christians know better than to think their religion can be forced on others or that it would ever make sense to try doing so.

But on the other hand, I found proof last week that some in the Left are not only trying to force us all to believe their way (by ensuring, for example, that their universal "public" and mostly compulsory schools teach in only one way and from only one world view), but even are trying to establish a religion here, in direct opposition to the First Amendment, which guarantees that America will have no established religion. My proof came in a column by a conservative Jewish writer, Don Feder, criticising a liberal Jewish national figure, Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, in Human Events. Wrote Feder:

a conservative Jewish activist told me recently of the ADL's National Director and principal spokesman, "Abe Foxman has a problem with Christianity"—unfortunate in...a country that's over 80% Christian. Foxman's latest foray in political correctness was an attack on Rev. Jerry Falwell when the latter included an "I Vote Christian" sticker in a fundraising mailing. Falwell's sticker is "directly at odds with the American ideal, and should be rejected," Foxman lectured. "Understanding the danger of combining religion and politics, our founding fathers wisely created a political system based on individual merit and religious inclusiveness."

Which got me to thinking....

If we are a pluralistic nation, as I advocate and the left pretends to support, there is no such thing as "the" American ideal. Every American has his or her own ideal or ideals (religion, politics, ideas), and no one—not even the Anti-Defamation League—can force his "ideal" on anyone else. That's the principle that the First Amendment was written to guarantee for as long as this republic stands.

Foxman's one "American ideal," if ever allowed to prevail in the form that he believes in it, would constitute an establishment of religion, and that's what the left, not the conservative right, is advocating. That religion, of course, is humanist secularism, the same one that failed in Hitler's Reich, Stalin's gulags, and Napoleon's empire.

The joy and genius of our Judeo-Christian pluralism (simple application of the Golden Rule) is that we can make a nation out of that pluralism, as we've been doing for over two centuries, if we act in good will and good nature and are willing, not to compromise principle, but to co-operate on shared aspirations and values. Not that we share all, but we share enough (such as, "life is better than murder," "family is better than children reared by Fagins") to create effective coalitions and continue making human progress.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy


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Century-old Vintondale school photos
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Today's chuckle

A consultant is someone who takes a subject you understand and makes it sound confusing.

—Sent by Trudy Myers

Thought for today

Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.

Ypatia (350-370? – 415 AD)

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