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Re: 'Will America continue with liberty…' [Village News, Reeder editorial, 9/14/23]

Julie asked the rhetorical question: "Will America continue with liberty and justice for all, one nation under God?" The short answer is you can't continue something that doesn't already exist.

Liberty and justice for all is our ideal, but we are too far off the mark today. Cases of racism are regularly in the news. A two-tier system of justice prevails. Wealthy people can afford to spend millions on expert lawyers to defend, delay, and buy their way out of jail time.

The poor may spend days in jail, just waiting for their trial to begin. And prejudice against minorities has actually been increasing since it became politicized by GOP leaders. Women aren't a minority, but misogyny is yet another divisive practice of GOP leaders.

One nation under God? I don’t think so. Patriotism calls only for 100% loyalty. You may not have thought about it lately, but we all have a social contract with America. We have banded together as a group for our mutual security – physically, economically, and more. But patriotism doesn’t need, or call for, 100% belief in God. And, based on the available statistics, the US is definitely not “one nation under God.”

One recent survey found that 69% of the population identified as Christian, presumably worshiping one God – a substantial majority, but not representing our nation as a whole. Rather, a case can be made that such religious belief is divisive.

A major schism is that between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. And there are at least seven variants of Protestantism (Baptist, Methodist, etc.) although they are all based on the same Bible. So religious belief in God does not appear to be a unifying force.

Fortunately, our Founding Fathers understood that a true democracy provides freedom of belief for all, and made that perfectly clear in the First Amendment. In return for the protection our country provides us, only two things are required of us; to do no harm to our fellow citizens, and to come to the defense of our country, if required. So, regardless of personal belief, we can all be law-abiding patriotic citizens of our great nation.

John H. Terrell

 

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