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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Religion shouldn't steer political decision making 

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  • I watched the Vice Presidential debate between contenders Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. As an independent voter myself, I personally wish we had "different choices" on both major-party tickets — but I watched the so-called 'debate', nevertheless. I really expected Biden to put his foot-in-his-mouth. He didn't. For the most part, although a little feisty, Biden kept his composure more dignified and restrained than usual. His facial contortions were quite lively and varied. Both men are Roman Catholics, as am I. Young congressman Paul Ryan normally tows the hard-Catholic doctrine that a person cannot separate one's private life from one's public life in regards to public policy decision-making. I am glad that Vice President Biden correctly noted that individual personal Faith can shape "values" or "morals"; but that he serves in a federal office where "Liberty and justice for all" extends to people of other faiths, too.In 1987, I had a rare class at Wichita State University that was cross-listed under two different college departments: (business administration and political science); and it was titled: "decision-making". It was taught by a former governor of the state of Kansas, Gov. John W. Carlin, who is himself a Lutheran. Centuries ago, various European Nations were a theocracy where Bishops ruled with an iron-fist. We must not return to the misery of those failed systems. Well-intentioned religious guidance can easily spill-over into a totalitarian religious-dictatorship, if the peer-pressure gets too emboldened. Granted, we are a Nation built on Judeo-Christian principles and traditions; however, our Founding Fathers did not want to see our citizens shackled into a totalitarian religious mindset, nor be coerced into marching in lockstep against their own free will and accord. America was built upon a foundation of "freedom" but let me emphasize reciprocal freedom of worship) — whereby religious worship wouldn't be infringed upon — yet religious proselytizing wouldn't be allowed to bleed-over to infuse narrow religious bias (or bigotry) in public policy or laws. We can keep genuinely sincere religious faith in our hearts without making it a gaudy or oppressive billboard in the public square. There is only so much room on the courthouse lawn or the capitol steps for signs, slogans, and demonstrations.James A. Marples, Esbon, Kansas.
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