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Jon Lindgren, Published April 27 2013

Letter: Shining a light on secularism

Congratulations to Lloyd Omdahl for his column, “We can find sin anyplace” (Tuesday, April 23). Omdahl pointed out there has been continual growth in secularism. Many Christians now disregard the teachings of their own denomin-ations about sin. He advised Christians they should not expect government to put the tenets of their faith into law.

There seems to be a couple of reasons for this change. One is the computer. Anyone, sitting at a keyboard, has access to religious reading material that would fill a library. This means clergy are no longer the only source of theology. As a faculty member in a seminary put it recently, “The folks in the pews are no longer merely consumers of theology. They have become producers. We clergy must now listen to them instead of the other way around.”

Another change that has hurt Christianity is the teaching of tolerance. Most parents and nearly all schools teach students not to bully others and to accept the variety of races, religions and even gender orientations of those who share their classrooms and playgrounds. Thus, when young people hear the church does not accept gay marriage, or regards Islam as bad, it does not fit into the values taught them elsewhere. They conclude all of Christianity is intolerant, even though the label does not apply to all branches.

Omdahl advises Christians can be of more influence by living exemplary lives than they can by putting their religious tenets into law. Living exemplary lives is a good goal for all of us.

Lindgren is president of Red River Freethinkers and a former mayor of Fargo. He blogs at AreaVoices.com.