Here is a letter to the Editor from our member Joe Sommer to the Canton Repository.

This is an example of something we each can do and we encourage everyone to be a voice for separation of church and state:

Letters to the Editor

Canton Repository

Dear Editor:

Irene Gulley's Feb. 2 letter said: "Please put God back into everything and allow our country to become great again." The Founders of the U.S. kept religion out of government - including not mentioning the word "God" in the Constitution - for good reasons. Doing so helped make the country great.

The Founders knew that throughout history, religions controlling government used governmental powers to impose their beliefs on others. This resulted in horrible persecutions of minority religions.

Benjamin Franklin said: "If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution." He listed some of them as the "primitive Christians," the "Romish Church," the "first Protestants of the Church of England" and the Puritans.

Specific historical examples of governmental persecution of minority religions include the Inquisition, the Crusades, pogroms against Jewish communities, the burning of witches, religious wars in Europe and suppression of scientists and their findings.

Moreover, for hundreds of years in Europe, blasphemy laws required the death penalty or other severe punishments for persons opposing government-approved religions. Blasphemy laws exist and are enforced in some Islamic countries today.

Thomas Jefferson summarized the results of governments compelling people to support religion: "Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? to make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."

Religion should not be put in government. Church-state separation must be supported to prevent repeating an unspeakably appalling historical record, as the Founders intended.


Joseph Sommer

P.S. I still have my Repository subscription from when I lived in an apartment in North Canton from Sept. 23 until Dec. 5. I return to Stark County frequently to visit family.