Letters to the Editor
Readers write about religion in politics and the war in Iraq.
Religion's place in politics: Politicians' private lives
In response to C. Welton Gaddy's June 16 Opinion piece, "Candidates: stop misusing religion": Mr. Gaddy worries that the "sanctity of religion" has been violated during this presidential campaign. To some degree, we share his concern about candidates who use faith for political reasons. However, we do so as a personal matter, not as a constitutional one.
Despite the rhetoric about "separation of church and state," the Constitution places few explicit restrictions on religion in the public square. The Founders assumed that religion would be a part of public life. The father of the country, George Washington, wrote, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports."
Voters may personally like or dislike some of the ways in which the presidential candidates have chosen to bring religion into the public square. However, the fact that they have done so certainly does not violate the Constitution.
Regarding the recent Opinion piece on religion in politics: As a staunch secularist, I, too, wince when candidates use religion as a stage prop, and I feel that our country deserves an electoral campaign that treats public religion with the same suspicion held by those who built the Constitution.