Retired Appellate Judge emails MRFF: hmm

Date: June 26, 2018 at 7:44:29 AM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>
Hey, Mikey: was sitting here this morning in the back yard, and saw the thing about Starnes on Fox News. He buried the lede. Displaying the seals of the armed services displayed is one thing, but wasn’t the problem. Backing up the “honor the veterans” theme of the church’s “Freedom Sunday” by advertising a sermon entitled “America is a Christian Nation” appropriated the symbols of our military to promote a position antithetical to the core ideals those services protect.

When Washington wrote to the members of the Touro Synagogue in Newport, RI* in 1790, he was addressed by the Synagogue, whose spokesman extolled the new government as ” affording to All liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language, equal parts of the great governmental Machine.

Washington responded shortly thereafter in a letter:
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

Toleration of religion is not an indulgence of any faith by a majority, nor is mere toleration the measure of how religion is treated in Washington’s pre-Bill of Rights thinking.  Toleration is less than what is accorded any religion, and his letter makes it clear that mere toleration was specifically abandoned by the Constitution. Full acceptance of the inherent natural right of freedom of belief, with no preference given to any form over any other and without bigotry (against) or sanction (for) requires that all coexist in equality of the protection afforded them by our government.
To believe that anything less than the level field of universal protection for all faith, that forbids partisan elevation of one belief over another under our Constitution is simply un-American.

Retired Appellate Judge

*I’ll tell you the story about my ad hoc Bar Mitzvah on the sidewalk in front of the Touro Synagogue sometime If I haven’t already.

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1 Comment

  1. J C

    True-er words were never spoken Sir.

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