Updated Saturday, July 6, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Editor's note: On Thursday, July 4, there was a full-page advertisement in the news section, placed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Published in full color, the advertisement's main message was "Celebrate our godless Constitution," and it featured portraits and quotes from six of America's Founding Fathers. The advertisement was paid for by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and does not reflect the views of The Seattle Times.
Religion is a protected right
Having just returned from vacation in Pennsylvania, named for William Penn, who worked to ensure freedom for religion and nonreligion, it is illuminating to see the full-page ad from the Freedom From Religion Foundation on July 4 promoting the removal of all things religious from the public domain.
Even Thomas Jefferson stated in our founding document that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” explicitly establishing a religious basis for the liberty we celebrate today.
Freedom of speech, too, is a fundamental First Amendment right for all, rather than being limited only to those with no religious basis. Sadly, we seem to be losing the First Amendment protections of freedom of religion.
Ron Carson, Renton
Advertisement was informative
Thanks to The Seattle Times for printing that very attractive, informative full-page ad from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
It’s about time that people learn the truth about our Founding Fathers’ thoughts on religion and the need for separation of church and state.
Phyllis Becker, Port Hadlock
Quotes in advertisement were taken out of context
Regarding the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s advertising invitation to “Celebrate Our Godless Constitution” on July 4 through the use of out-of-context and unreferenced quotes, I will share several referenced quotes whose context can be easily ascertained and which paint a very different picture from what atheists would have us believe.
President John Quincy Adams, in a speech on Independence Day in 1837 at Newburyport referring to the connection between Christianity and the Declaration of Independence, asked rhetorically, “Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”
Thomas Jefferson’s 1785 Notes on the State of Virginia contains the following: ““Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.”
Agreeing with Jefferson, I believe we should all be trembling today.
Harbison Parker, Seattle
Advertisement was a public service
Bravo to you, Seattle Times, for publishing the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s full-page ad.
That advertisement is extremely well done, and is truly worth a careful read by all of us with our varying viewpoints about “the big issues.” It is truly a public service advertisement.
It is clearly promoting a point of view and is “political” in that sense. But it is truly educational of certain important reality at the same time.
It is my hope that The Times may see clearly in the editorial arena also, giving careful but positive support to the separation of religion and civil government.
Allan Avery, Sumner