Let's separate church, state

I agree with a few things Dr. Anderson says in his essay "Why They Kill." I disagree with his thesis, unproved and unprovable, that humans are "risen" apes. If this is true, then it may be millennia before mankind can breed out this kind of barbaric behavior.

His Sunday sermon solution, then, that everyone should realize we are all brothers and sisters is pretty pathetic. First, he says, we have evolved the trait of killing in packs over seven million years of hominid evolution, then he asks, "Can't we all just get along?"

I think the solution does not lie in hopeful tripe, but in taking away power from the group, religion, or state to engage in killing. Dr. Anderson is right that the link between the governing power and the religious power, commonly evolved as the Church-State system, has bathed human history in blood. So... separate Church and State.

In 1786 Jefferson's bill, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, guaranteed forever that churches in Virginia would not be supported by the State. Other states followed along, and by the 1830s, all states had given up their Church-State system. The concept was guaranteed federally in 1791 by the First Amendment.

What has been the result of this Church and State separation in the United States? There are 2300+ various religions with memberships of over 2000 or more– and certainly a large group of folks like Dr. Anderson who don't believe in God at all– living together in peace in the United States.

And the rest of the world? According to the Council for America's First Freedom in Richmond, there are at least 24 nations now engaged in religion-motivated wars, most of which are of the militant Islamic variety.

Now the United States is embroiled in an attempt to introduce democracy into an area of the world which reveres a theocracy. Can it succeed? God knows. I did interview a prominent Islamic cleric in Richmond two years ago. I asked him point blank, "Can Islam and democracy co-exist?" He answered emphatically, "Yes!!"

Dr. Anderson blames our shortcomings on evolution. Whether he likes it or not, it gives us all an excuse to remain as we are. I say, we have the God-given power; let's rise up off our opposable thumbs and do something about it.

Larry Sidwell
Earlysville
lws66@earthlink.net

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