Remember the separation of church and state?
I just read Right Persuasion, “The party that booed God,”( 9/13) in the VC Reporter. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the incident you were discussing itself, but only read your commentary on it. However, I felt compelled to share my views as yours were so very fierce.
As an independent voter, I’d like to point out that our Founding Fathers established the separation between church and state, and Jefferson and many others of his day were Deists, not the rabid Christians we have today that seem to hold no tolerance for any belief that in any way contrasts with their own.
I am a believer in a higher power … but I don’t believe that our very human politics should hinge on blind faith in a “God” that many sinful humans try to describe and control and speak for. Blind faith is just that. Blind. Politics is pragmatic. We must endeavor to do our best with the proofs we have at hand. I don’t find it objectionable that the Democrats are trying to preserve a separation between church and state …. They are upholding our Founding Fathers’ beliefs far better than those who would shove their version of God down the rest of our throats.
How America stands as a model for religious liberty
Paul Moomjean (Right Persuasion, “The party that booed God,” 9/13) fails to make the distinction between people booing God, and people holding a deep conviction about the principle of separating church and state. His failure to do so reflects the simplistic analysis he brings to many of his commentaries, guaranteed, unfortunately, to evoke a similar knee-jerk response from the self-proclaimed patriots who want to link religion to our political life.
It’s important to understand that separation of church and state, rather than weakening the practice of religion in America, is a critical, distinctive principle protecting our free practice of religion, as it was intended to be. The following quotes express this more eloquently:
Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State:
“The constitutional principle of separation of church and state has given Americans more religious freedom than any people in world history. Around the globe, those suffering under the heavy heel of government-sponsored religious oppression look to America’s church-state model with longing. The ‘wall of separation between church and state’ is America’s bulwark of true religious liberty.”
Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun in the Lee v. Weisman ruling, 1992:
“When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some.”
Changing of the guard in Ventura
Various rumors have been floated to explain the mostly bloodless coup at Ventura City Hall that ousted City Manager Rick Cole — despite his sterling record in passing a General Plan, implementing smart growth in a community skeptical of any kind of growth and keeping the city in good financial shape by tough budget cuts and union concessions. When Mayor Mike Tracy announced a “new direction,” it rattled those who worried that it meant a sharp rightward turn for a city that is actually doing well on its current course. Tracy denied this publicly at the next Council meeting and emphasized that the Council majority was simply looking for “new leadership.” Now along comes the anonymous observer who writes your Crow’s Nest column with the theory that Cole’s “rudeness” finally caught up with him. (News, “Looking for Mr. Congenial for Ventura’s new city manager,” 9/13)
The trouble is, that portrait doesn’t fit. Undoubtedly there are some councilmembers who wanted a more deferential city manager and some developers and “community leaders” who expected the red carpet treatment from the city manager, but to ordinary citizens and front-line city staff, Cole was always accessible, friendly and a patient listener, rare in chief executives — and part of the reason for the outpouring of puzzlement from the public over his ouster.
If Crow’s Nest is right, the lesson for the next manager is not to worry about people like us, but to be very cooperative and congenial to those with “the power.” That is what got Oxnard in trouble.