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I love letters to the editor. It shows the working person's viewpoint on political happenings, and sometimes provides a well-needed laugh. A letter in today's Charleston Gazette has inspired a rant session. First, here's the letter:

Editor:

I don't think the Founding Fathers could possibly have conceived of the diverse religions that exist when they included freedom of religion in the Constitution. I think they meant freedom to be Christians in whatever way people way people wanted. Remember, the Puritans were persecuted in England and forced to immigrate to the new America.

I don't think any religion that worships anything except the God of Christians should be allowed in the United States. Those Muslims should be deported. If they are American citizens, the renounce Islam or be exiled to some island, which the United States could purchase. No more burqas, no more veiled women, no more mosques, no more Islam in the United States.

I know that there have been wars initiated by Christians, but nowhere in the Christian credo does it say that to kill unbelievers is a way to heaven. If you want to come to America, then adopt the Christiam religion. It's as simple as that.

Well, here goes. I've got my scalpel in hand and I'm ready to start disecting. Okay, first paragraph. The author doesn't think that the Founding Fathers (notice capitalization) "could possibly have conceived of the diverse religions that exist". Grammar aside, Mr. Bigot makes one of the largest mistakes in his letter here. His letter refers to Islam mostly, so he's saying that the Founding Fathers (capitalization) didn't know Islam existed. Well, had they known some world history, which they surely would have, the Hancock, Washington, Franklin and the gang would have know about the Crusades (a war initiated by Christians in order to spread the faith, refer to paragraph three). These Crusades took place in the Middle East, the heart of every major religion, including Islam and Christianity. Any religion existing today that is practiced by a relatively large number of people existed when this country was being born. Islam has been around for about 1,300 years, Christianity for 2,000, Buddhism for 2,500, Judaism (the forerunner of Christianity) for 6,000, and Hinduism for even longer than that. Unless one assumes that the Founding Fathers were uneducated in history, which any of their biographies will disprove, every single Founding Father knew of the existance of religions other than Christianity.

Paragraph two. Our overly-conservative friend (yes, you can be overly conservative) seems to hold certain political leanings, similar to those held by Nazi-era Communists, maybe you've heard of them. They decided to try to get rid of the Jewish people, because they were different from the majority of Europeans living at the time. They weren't that much different on outward appearance, but they did have a different lineage. Well, this guy thinks people of different religions (not totally different from Communist targets) should be deported, exiled to some island that the U.S. will purchase. No more Islam after that! You know, the U.S. kinda did that back in WWII, to a group know as the "Japanese". We crammed them into containment camps, forcing them to leave behind houses, businesses, and pretty much everything they owned. A bunch of people died in the process, and the government has recently apoligized for it. This was not one of America's brightest moments, needless to say, and I highly doubt we'll be doing that again. The whole "God of Christians" issue deserves its own paragraph.

And here's that paragraph. Okay, I already said that Judaism was the mother religion of Christianity. This is because God made a promise to Abraham, father of Isaac, father of Jacob or "Israel", that his seed will one day own the promised land. (This spawns the continuing struggle over the Gaza strip.) The Israelites were then given the Ten Commandments while being led by Moses. God, being the all-knowing being He is, knew that the law alone could not save his people (the Israelites), and promised to send a Messiah to do what the law could not do, save them. That Messiah was Jesus Christ, who was accused and crucified by the Jewish people for blasphemy. They did not believe that Jesus was indeed the Christ, and since that God's chosen people did not accept their Saviour, he offered their promised salvation to everyone, including Gentiles (like me). Jews following Judaism are still looking for the Messiah, and this is the dividing factor between Christianity and Judaism. The division between those two religions and Islam, reached back to Abraham. When Abraham's wife Sarah did not think she could have children, she gave Abraham her servant, Hagar. The son resulting from that union, Ishmael, is the father of Islam. His decendants, including the Islamic messiah Mohommad, were the group that created and adopted Islam. All three major religions therefore serve the God of Abraham, but serve Him differently. We Christians believe that we are the only correct belief, but to get technical about it, Islams, Jews, and Christians all serve "the God of Christians".

I have already tackled the issue of Christian-initiated wars, so that concludes the rant. I encourage forming your own opinions on the matter, but after stating my own, I know I feel better.

written 6/23/04 at 12:12AM Eastern Time

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