Christianity is not partisan
To the Editor:
During the past several weeks, a seemingly coordinated series of increasingly vitriolic letters to the editor have appeared in The Smoky Mountain News. One specific letter, titled “Religion doesn’t belong in schools” by Ms. Cory was shocking to me, as well as to many other readers of The Smoky Mountain News. Though many of the points seemed gratuitously inflammatory, the anti-Christian remarks specifically stood out to me.
It was stated, “religion doesn’t belong in schools.” I’m not sure if Ms. Cory is aware, but nearly half of Jackson County residents identify as religious, with the overwhelming majority being some denomination of Christian. To say that Christians don’t belong in the public school system is to say that almost half of our community should be disenfranchised from participating in education. Does Ms. Cory expect us to practice our religion in shameful secrecy, so as not to offend his sensibilities? Ms. Buchanan simply identified that she, like so many of our families, is a member of a local church.
When exactly did religion become a dirty word? We are guaranteed the free exercise of religion in the United States; therefore, suggesting that members of any religion should be banned from the school system is a gross restriction of that freedom. There are Christians already in the school system: children, teachers, administrators, and yes — even school board members. Should they be removed from the school system because of their religious views? Over the past few years, the national narrative has shifted to attacking Christians. Not only are these baseless attacks unnecessary and anti-American, they serve to divide our community. They also clearly show that the people making these outlandish claims have no policy to address or positive ideas to implement.
Several of the recent opinion pieces circulating in the local papers insinuate that Christianity is inherently partisan and only Republicans identify as Christian. Given that almost half of Jackson County identifies as Christian and Democrats have consistently won several local elections in previous years, I think it’s clear that these allegations are ridiculous and disenfranchise local Democrats who also identify as Christian. Being Christian does not automatically mean being Republican, which I’m sure many Jackson County residents can attest to. In every election cycle, at every level of government, politicians on both sides of the aisle proudly proclaim their personal religious ties.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attend a meeting with the Pope himself at the Vatican. President Joe Biden publicly identifies as a Christian. So, should these politicians be stripped of their duties because of their religious ties? The recent opinion pieces should perhaps serve as a wake-up call to Jackson County Christians. Does the current Jackson County Democrat Party, attacking religion and engaging in unbecoming political attacks, truly represent you, the voter? More and more, people are voicing concerns that extreme secularism has taken over the DNC. Perhaps it’s happening here as well.
When going to cast your vote in this (or any election), ask yourself why you are voting. Are you voting against a policy? For a policy? Aligning yourself with a political side because you were born into it? Do you truly feel passionately that a specific candidate will represent you well? Or were you told to vote a specific way, without any details about that candidate’s track record. A school board election is about our children. Research both Ms. Clayton and Ms. Buchanan. Choose the policies that align with how you want your children to be treated. If one side can only offer fear tactics and smear campaigns, is that truly the vision you have for your child’s education?
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The left allows only one religion - regressivism ( it isn't anything like progressive). The purpose of their religion is destruction and it will result in nothing but poverty and misery.
I understand your concerns but I think you may be misunderstanding what the previous writer(s) has written. In fact it sounds like it felt like a personal attack, but I'm confident in saying that was not their intention. The writer did state, to the effect that, if you want a Christian education for children, this is what private schools are for. The simple fact is that public schools, which are run by the government, are not a constitutionally viable outlet for relgious instruction and prayer (despite what some SCOTUS justices may say on the matter).
The people that want to keep religious instruction out of schools don't care that you to foster your relationship with God at home or at church. In fact, the reinforced absence of religious instruction in schools ought to be a very simple test of faith for young Christians. The people that think religious instruction doesn't belong in schools truly don't care what you do at home or at church. Moreover, this aim cannot sever a child's connection to God.
I have two guiding principles. Treat others as I would have them treat me, and consider what I would do or feel if I were in a minority's shoes. For instance (however absurd), with well over 1 billion people in India, imagine if Hinduism started spreading in America? What if it become the prevalent religion in Jackson county; how would you feel? Cornered? Not represented?
If you're a protestant like I am, we should be taking a very large ammount of pride in OWNING our personal relationship with God. We should also celebrate that we live in a country where it was so important to the founders that the government didn't us what to believe, that they made it the 1st bullet point to the constitution! Trust me: we do not want the government telling kids how or what to believe, because one day that may not parse with what either of us believe in.
You said that religon doesn't have a political party. That's absolutely true. Also, political parties shouldn't use religion as a platform.
First Amendment: An Overview
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. It prohibits any laws that establish a national religion, impede the free exercise of religion, abridge the freedom of speech, infringe upon the freedom of the press, interfere with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibit citizens from petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted into the Bill of Rights in 1791. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments.
Freedom of Religion
Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The Establishment Clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the "separation of church and state." However, some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of "blue laws" is not prohibited. The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person's practice of their religion.