Letters to the Boston editor, August 13, 2010
I’m as liberal as the next guy, and I’ve been bothered for years by the distorted values and activities of the religious right in their pursuit of enforced conformity. I enjoyed Jeff Inglis’s article, “Holy War,” in the June 25 edition of the Phoenix, but find myself perturbed nevertheless. Perhaps my liberal knee is jerking.
As pointed out, the Constitution prohibits governmental involvement in religion, but not religious advocacy of social positions. This is often forgotten. Any attempt to withdraw tax exemptions from such organizations because of the actions they take could be injurious to the First Amendment. It’s based all too much on our agreement with the position the churches are advocating.
The civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s and the Vietnam War protests would not have been nearly as successful without the principled involvement of many religious groups and individuals. Tax a church for funding homophobic legislative efforts and you will also find yourself taxing churches who join the Pride march to endorse gay marriage.
I have no solution to the genuine problem posed by Mr. Inglis, except to remember the old adage that the best solution to free speech is more free speech.
I usually like Jeff Inglis’s work, but here he took an interesting theme off track with offensive name-calling. And if he wants to quote founders on the role of religion in a democracy, he could have included George Washington (“Reason and experience forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles”) or Thomas Jefferson (“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that their liberties are a gift from God?”).
In our “On the Cheap” review of Olecito, we incorrectly stated that tacos were two for $2.75. In fact, they are $2.75 each.
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