Letter to the Editor

Morality essential part of government

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dear Editor:

This is in response to Jerry Wadel's March 12 letter. Jerry begins with the statement, "Religion and morality needed to govern."

He assumes my appeal for freedom from religion is eliminating morality. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Morality is an essential part of government. Many problems we face today are because those who seek to govern lack of morality or have different morality. I base much of my thought on Jesus' saying, "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free."

The truth is government must be based on clear statements of principle which citizens generally accept. Truth, honesty, justice, freedom and fairness to all citizens are the bedrock of democracy.

I wish all Christians could agree on what is moral. Obviously, we do not. What is the source of our morality? Jerry quotes George Washington, "Religion and morality are indispensable supports of good government." Note that he did not say Christian.

A recent survey pointed out that 53 percent of our citizens say it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral. Does that mean that 47 percent have no morality?

There are other bases for morality. Our history shows we have some inborn problems that get in the way of all human relationships. One problem is each person begins to think that his answer is correct while others just simply do not understand.

That is why the framers of the Constitution say liberty and justice for all is our goal. The great philosophers, many of the great people, better scholars than most of us, have struggled with what is moral throughout the centuries.

Jerry takes issue with a statement about a political party restricting certain behavior based on a religious position, thus making some unable to practice their faith. He asks for an example. One seemingly at the forefront of much conflict has to do with the sanctity of life. The issue begins with differences in attitude about sex. One group of Christians say the primary purpose for sex is procreation.

Most of us agree that God wants the human race to continue but opinions differ about how we are to use this gift. Use of contraceptives to prevent pregnancy is not accepted by some Christian groups. Morning-after pills are a no-no! Abortion is seen as murder and must not be allowed, some seem to say not even to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.

For those interested, check the Greek influence over what is sinful in New Testament writings. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe vs. Wade, made abortion legal. Many Christians do not agree with abortion, but see the need for it under certain circumstances.

Space will not allow much discussion but the decision is left to the physician and individuals involved. Certain groups and individuals, claiming religious freedom, have opposed the ruling and do everything they can to impede adherence to the decision.

Hundreds of laws have been passed, or offered, to make it more difficult for anyone to obtain an abortion. Restrictions have been put in place that closed clinics, making it more difficult for the poor. Prevention of pregnancy is a desirable goal but family planning is tied to abortion. Yes, this is happening where the Republican Party is in power.

Many of us would be more willing to listen to the complaints of those objecting to abortion if they showed the same concern for the newborn child. Instead, the very same legislators speak of the need for "smaller government" and bemoan the money spent to alleviate the misery of the poor.

Food stamps and unemployment benefites are reduced, educational programs are stripped and lower wages are encouraged while wealthy contributors to politicians write more laws to benefit themselves and are subsidized.

A proven life principle shows as the income level and educational level goes up, the birth rate goes down. Why can't we create jobs that pay for a reasonable level of privilege, thus lowering the birth rate?

Speaking of Christian morality, when will our legislators who express their faith listen to the words of Jesus as he calls for mercy for the poor, the sick, the prisoner, the hungry child and the really needy in our society?

Lester Thornton