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Democracy and Religion

February 23, 1986

Regarding Larry A. Taylor's letter (Feb. 8), "Does U.S. Democracy Depend on Religion?": I'm not familiar with the Brookings Institution report, but I am concerned with Taylor's reply. He seems to indicate that the Founding Fathers were skeptical of religion to the point of outright antagonism and disavowal. I think Taylor is confusing their concept of God, or a Supreme Being, with their concept of organized, state religion.

The deistic attitudes, held by many of the Founding Fathers, should not be equated with antagonism toward a God-head. They understood and accepted the validity of the Bible and the existence of a Supreme Being. What they objected to was the concept of a state-imposed, denominational religion--with its forced financial and social demands.

Religion, in the form of a state-controlled institution, is certainly not conducive to democracy. If anything, it would be un democratic. But, the belief in the validity of the Holy Scriptures, with its accompanying concept of a Supreme Being, would certainly result in the strengthening of democracy.

The biblical notion that all men (mankind) are equal in the eyes of God, and therefore all have equal access to salvation, is certainly a democratic concept.

The main theme of the Scriptures is God's plan of redemption for fallen man. A clear ethical system seems to spring up from this plan. This plan, along with its ethical system, can stand with or without outside "humanistic" contributing factors, to which Taylor appears to devote so much credence. If mankind turns its back on this plan and refuses to participate in it, what good is any ethical system?

If we've lost our salvation, mankind is dead anyway. It seems to me that we should get our priorities in order and concentrate on the primary issue.

IRVING E. FRIEDMAN

Huntington Beach

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