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The need for real separation between church and state

Editor:
      December 22, 2010 was a historic day for America.
      Another bigoted social issue was put to bed! Gays and lesbians are real people. They have skills that benefit democracy, national security and social issues. Does this mean henceforth we all live happily ever after? I think not.
      As long as we have churches that preach hatred and bigotry from the pulpits we will continue to have social issues.  Politics is not an acceptable issue to be preached from the pulpits of our churches. If a church decides to use the pulpit as a political body, then their tax-free status must be voided and they must pay taxes on monies collected from their members.
      It is time we look closely at the relationships between the pulpit and the constitutional implications we are witnessing today. The church has interjected itself as a political action committee to help pass laws involving issues beyond the confines of the definition of church and what it constitutionally represents.
      The Constitution draws a firm distinction between church and state. Both have a well defined hierarchy and both equally deal with social or human issues. Women win the right to vote; blacks win the right to integrate into white schools in order to obtain an equal education; women win the right to choose abortion; blacks win the right to vote without paying hellacious poll taxes; civil rights bill passed and enacted; gays are allowed to be who they are and no longer have to hide their identities. These rights were individually decided by our Constitutional lawmakers. Not one of these issues was supported nor fought for in a positive manner by the church as a group.
      The churches have denied citizens their basic rights for thousands of years. Churches have subtly and very quietly allowed hate groups and bigots to use their pews and pulpits to harbor such behaviors equally as long. The bloodiest wars you have ever read about or have been taught in classrooms are the "religious wars" fought time after time after time.  These wars were really about power and the churches have fought for power equal to that of kings, monarchs, dictatorships and democracies.
      One would think that church and state must surely know and have learned by now, with our ability to instantly communicate with the masses, that bigotry and hate has to be eradicated as we become a more responsible and civil society. The Congress has the ability to regulate the church and has done so from time to time.
      Gay and lesbian soldiers now have the right and the ability to protect and defend the very Constitution that rule and govern our daily way of life. One day I feel it will become law whereby a human being will be able to love and marry whom they please as a simple and basic human right. If the church cannot get past such bigotry then our government must once again step up to the plate and enact legislation to ensure such hatred and bigotry remains hidden behind the doors of the church. I feel this is really the showdown and throw down of our basic democracy as a great nation ... with liberty and justice for all.
      Marriage does not have to occur in a church to be legally binding. Justices of the peace have been performing marriage ceremonies for centuries. Marriage is technically a legal issue. With marriage comes specific tax issues/rights (deductions) and human issues/rights (health and dying), and a sundry of other general legal issues. The church is to preach and spread the words of love and peace. The church must prohibit hatred and bigotry and preach it from the pulpit.
      Look at the statistics that show 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce, 67 percent of second marriages end in divorce and 74 percent of third marriages end in divorce. I feel the church is doing a very poor job; forget the homosexual issue, deal with the heterosexual divorce rate that is leaving children scattered amongst our neighborhoods and cities as though they are litter.
      Adultery is becoming an acceptable common theme behind the closed doors of the sanctuary. Sixth-seven percent of our male population admits to having an affair while 54 percent of the female population admitted to having an affair. The church should be committing their time and efforts to deal with these human issues before taking on the homosexual issues.
      According to a Gallup Poll, 75 percent of Americans are not members of any church. Of the 25 percent that do attend church only 20 percent of these members admit going on a regular basis. The list of abrogate religious issues run on and on and on.
      It appears to me the church is so busy pointing their fingers at those outside the church there must be a reason - could it be the church doesn't desire anyone to look inward to the activities of the church itself?
      Jimmy Swaggart and his prostitutes; Catholic Priests and their sexual exploitations of alter boys and little girls being molested behind closed doors of the sanctuary; Oral Roberts being called up to glory if he doesn't get $8 million in donations to build his empire; Jim and Tammy Faye Baker ... the list grows huge.
      I feel it is time for the Congress to initiate and pass laws making it illegal for any church to hide hate groups and other such groups thus providing a mechanism for bigots to gather to plot and plan for such illicit activities such as bombings and general mayhem.
      It is time our Congress looks at the basic behavior of the churches and how churches are continuously making attempts to tear down and weaken the very fabric of human socialization as a whole.
      It is time to define the true differences of church and state!
John Green
Statesboro

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