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Luke Burns, Published April 30 2010

Religion should have no place in socio-political discussions

In the Saturday, April 24, letters, Phillip Sims posits that if the Judeo-Christian God were to vote in our elections, he would be a one-issue voter on the subject of abortion. A few things strike me with this right away:

If God by definition is omniscient, wouldn’t he already be aware of the outcome of the polls? Further, if he is omnipotent, wouldn’t he just will ballots to go his way? This is exactly why religion has no place in current socio-political discussion; all you’re doing is applying your interpretation of archaic allegorical texts to justify your position. How about arguing from a point of sturdy logical foundation instead of appealing to the religious traditions of others?

Then Sims lays down a real doozy: “If you don’t respect and protect life, what else is there?” Don’t you see the almost comically narrow interpretation of “life” he’s using here? What about the lives of those already living and breathing on the Earth? What about the lives of the civilians of Afghanistan or Iraq? What about those without access to adequate food and shelter in the Third World? Better yet, he states he is a Catholic, why not spend his energy ensuring that never again is another boy molested and justice denied to him within his own church?

In fact, if I were to become a bit of a hypocrite and use his own religious text as a basis for my argument, never, not even once, does the Bible deal directly with abortion. Sure, interpreting Psalm 139 one way, and using “Thou shall not kill” he feels backs him up, but why?

Jesus says very directly to turn the other cheek and that blessed are the peacemakers, so Sims must surely also be as active opposing all war, right? He says blessed are the poor and that “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Does Sims then live in humble surroundings and oppose capitalism as an evil, profit-driven scourge? Somehow I doubt he applies his own savior’s teachings to himself and his country as strictly as he would like to apply them to the bodies of women around the world.

I respect his right to worship in any way he chooses, but don’t attempt to use it as a template for the laws governing all of us.