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Letters: Blending religion and politics

September 09, 2012

Re "Neither party owns faith," Opinion, Sept. 6

Perhaps it's true for Roman Catholics like Rick Cole that the country has "maintained a healthy balance in which faith and politics can interact." It certainly isn't for those of us who have different values and beliefs than those imposed by the church. The church-state separation not only benefits the religious by allowing them their beliefs, but it also protects the non-religious from the tyranny of the majority.

With respect to the civil rights movement, which Cole says could have been far more violent without the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s appeal to Americans' Judeo-Christian values, it was more bloody than Cole remembers.

I would also suggest that charity and morality are not the exclusive domains of the religious.

Many religious people continually try to invoke God in public discourse. Have your faith, if you must, but leave this notion of a God out of politics.

Dave Dolnick

Thousand Oaks

Cole claims that those who forget history have "goals of driving Democrats out of the Roman Catholic Church and Catholics out of the Democratic Party." I question whether people of faith who are engaged in political action have this goal.

As Sister Simone Campbell stated at the Democratic National Convention, we must evaluate public policy on the basis of conscience and, for Catholics, on the social teachings of the church. For her, to cite Paul Ryan's budget as counter to caring for the most vulnerable in society is, in Cole's words, to bring "transcendent values to both public debate and courageous social action."

This election offers Catholics who are Democrats or Democrats who are Catholic the opportunity to examine and vote for political positions that align with the church's teaching on the "preferential option for the poor," without leaving either the party or the church.

Lenore Navarro Dowling

Los Angeles

Cole may think that "his views are his own," as indicated by the tag line that ran beneath his piece, but I believe they are the thoughts of many, especially in this election year.

As a Catholic, a woman, a union retiree and a pro-life Democrat, I feel great hope knowing that people like Cole are living and working somewhere in the vineyards of this great nation.

Kathleen Rapport

Orange

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