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Religion's role in society

Senator Goldwater's remarks to the Senate (Sept. 30), in which he states that ''religion has no place in public policy,'' reflects a certain confusion about the principles that guided our (nation's) founders.

While they emphatically renounced the ''adulterous connection'' between church and state, the founders were, above all, deeply religious men who accepted religion and morality as ''indispensable supports'' of popular government. And it was none other than George Washington who cautioned the people against entertaining the illusion that morality could be maintained ''apart from religious principle.''

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Today, the threat of a religious dictatorship in the US can hardly be taken seriously. The danger is, rather, an accelerating deterioration of our national quality of life, as marked by the rising rate of crime, divorce, venereal disease, and break-up of family life - not to speak of scandals in Congress and our local governments.

Efforts by individuals and groups toward a regeneration of moral standards in our people and government ought to be encouraged and supported, rather than censured.$

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