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Founding Fathers

July 14, 2000
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) makes excellent points in "Jefferson Didn't Want to Split Church, State" (Commentary, July 10). To understand the 1st Amendment, you have to understand the context of the time in which it was written. Religion was thought to be indispensable to the continuation of democracy. Consider that the day after the House of Representatives passed the 1st Amendment in 1789, it passed by a 2-to-1 majority a resolution calling for a day of national prayer and thanksgiving.
June 2, 1985
Thank you for publishing a superb letter from the chief of naval operations, which responded to Bob Toth's article (Dec. 30, 1984), "Role of Religious Faith at Pentagon." The admiral alludes to a problem that is more menacing to America's survival than is the combined threat of Russian missiles, pollution of the environment, crime in the streets, and deficit spending. A more grave challenge, by far, is how to reverse a steady trend toward the corruption of basic American values.
November 12, 1990
In the final paragraphs of his article, Steffens ridicules the notion that there is a force in society poised to wrest our freedom of expression from us. He asserts that the American people can be trusted to defend our freedoms. The danger of this argument is that it leads to the conclusion that the Bill of Rights is superfluous because "we are a good people, a fair people." Consider the philosophical thought and the historical necessity that gave rise to the Bill of Rights. The guarantees of freedom of expression (press, religion, assembly)
October 30, 2004
Re "The Electoral College Does It Better," Commentary, Oct. 27: Writer Benjamin Zycher offers that the electoral college "occasionally frustrates the will of the plurality or the majority. But the founding fathers understood the dangers of direct democracy and struggled to create a system that reflected the will of the people while constraining the majority." Actually, the founding fathers were for democracy, for one small group -- property-owning, taxpaying white males. The wisdom of our system is that we took the principles the founding fathers applied to that small group and gradually expanded democracy to include everyone.
October 2, 2003
Re "Partial-Birth Ban Takes Aim at Right to Privacy," Commentary, Sept. 30: Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), chief spokesman for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, asserts that the framers of the Constitution intended to give people only "the freedom to pursue the truth ... not hedonistic happiness, but true happiness that you find in serving others." He's wrong. This is not a recipe for freedom, but for totalitarianism. Who is to decide whether citizens are pursuing the truth? Why, the government.
August 20, 1996
Re the GOP platform officially recognizing English as the nation's common language, Aug. 13: English is the nation's common language, and it will, and should, continue to be. However, the fact that immigrants, especially first-generation immigrants, often speak a language other than English is hardly new. During the great steel strike of 1919 in the Monongahela Valley of western Pennsylvania, posters urging the workers to return to their jobs had...
January 19, 2004
What Jerry Locke (letter, Jan. 14) and probably many others may not know is that in the 1800s and early 1900s the Bible was used in public schools as a textbook. That was also when prayer was common and creation was taught -- and not the fallacy of evolution. That was OK with our founding fathers and just about everyone then, and it is only because of those who would have us live in a secular society that our country is in the state it is in today. Organizations like the ACLU -- and what they are doing -- are what's dragging this country to the very depths of debauchery that the founding fathers were trying to avoid.
December 11, 2007 | John Kenney, John Kenney is a writer in New York.
Good evening. Thank you for giving me the time to make clear my views on my very personal beliefs on religion, video of which is available on our website Let me make something clear.
November 22, 1998
I am appalled that we let politicians like Assemblyman Curt Pringle (R-Garden Grove) continue to run for office. Men like this who turn the American voters against someone honest and trustworthy like state Treasurer-elect Phil Angelides deserve to lose whatever office they're running for. If more lawsuits were threatened for politicians like this, our government would turn into the democratic haven originally planned by our founding fathers in...
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