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Atheists and Graduation

June 15, 1986

I wish to lend my support to Brodhead's stand in the face of the many cries of protest sure to come. At the same time, I would ask him to be of good cheer and to trust the real Founding Fathers.

Some government and/or religious leaders would have us believe that the Constitution allows for a "Christian nation." They would do well to remember that many of those who constructed the Constitution, and Thomas Jefferson in particular, were deists. That is, that they believed in God on rational grounds, but rejected formal religion and divine authority.

Their provisions in the Constitution for the separation of church and state remain as visible and purposeful checks on intrusions by religious groups. The success of Brodhead's suit against the Los Angeles Unified School District is proof of their effectiveness.

Religious groups need the protection of the Constitution, too. They are not likely to scrap a document that can shield them when they are in danger of persecution, or even taxation. This is not Iran, Mr. Brodhead, but I appreciate your effort to remind all of us of that fact.

JOHN DOOLITTLE

Hermosa Beach

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