Government should stay out of religion business

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 23, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

Thomas Jefferson once admonished the citizens of the United States to be ever vigilant regarding our government. This statement inspired the undersigned to prepare the following statement:

The Rev. Pat Robertson has used some of his time on the television to support the action of the judge who wishes to keep the Ten Commandments in the court building. If Rev. Robertson is what it appears to be, it is inconsistent with the first amendment to the U.S. constitution according to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Engel vs. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421.

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The following are quotes from that case: &uot;The first and most immediate purpose rested on the belief that a union of government and religion tends to destroy government and degrade religion. Another purpose of the establishment clause rested upon an awareness of the historical fact that governmentally established religions, and religious persecutions, go hand in hand.

&uot;It is neither sacrilegious, nor anti-religious, to say that each separate government in this country should stay out of the business of writing or sanctioning official prayers and leaving that purely religious function to the people themselves, and to those the people choose to look to for religious guidance.&uot;

Herman Benn