The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Letters

January 24, 2013

Letter: Jefferson wanted to make clear his views

A glance at the history surrounding Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists shows that Juliann Williams’ “Separation ...” letter of Dec. 15, is simply wrong.

As church-state scholarship and history points out, Jefferson clearly saw the letter as an opportunity to make a major pronouncement on church and state. Before sending the letter, he had it vetted by his attorney general Levi Lincoln.

Jefferson saw his response to the Baptists as an opportunity to clear up his views on church and state. After all he was under fire from conservative religious elements who hated his strong stand for full religious liberty. The letter, therefore, represented a summary of Jefferson’s thinking on the purpose and effected of the First Amendment’s religious clauses.

Jefferson wanted to bar all religious establishments; he left no room for “non-preferentialism”, the view touted by today’s accommodationists that government can aid religion as long as it assists all religion equally.

The Danbury letter has been cited favorably by the Supreme Court many times. In its 1879 Reynolds v. U.S. decision, the high court said, “Jefferson’s observations may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the First Amendment.” In the court’s 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote, “In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.”

Constitutional litigants are obliged to argue within the parameters of prior court precedents.

Bill J. Paschal

Muncie

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Letters
  • Viewpoint: Adding such a robust water resource with Mounds Lake would set us apart I have lived in Madison County most of my life, and for the past 14 years, I served on the Town Council in Pendleton, recently retiring as president. I have watched with great interest the happenings around the proposed Mounds Mall for a few reasons.

    July 26, 2014

  • Letter: Dr. David and Kay Mares are local treasures Throughout history we have had treasures that were not appreciated until years or centuries after their time. The lost art of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The terra cotta men of China. Vincent Van Gogh was a failing, starving artist in his time. Now his works are some of the world’s most valued. Madison County has a prize of its own that should be recognized in its time.

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Reservoir promotion has circus approach P.T. Barnum is starting his tour to promote the reservoir by going to all the towns surrounding the dream. Rob Sparks is this town's P.T. Barnum.

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Repentance is key to surviving times What happens to a nation that refuses to repent before God? What happens to a nation that had strong Christian beginnings, but now more closely resembles Sodom and Gomorrah?

    July 24, 2014

  • Letter: Anderson's annexed areas still lack business On July 10, 2014, at the Anderson City Council meeting, the executor of the estate was shut off from speaking, because she did not live in Adams Township, and the person from Adams Township tried to get up and speak was not allowed to. The council rushed the vote for zoning the land for business.

    July 22, 2014

  • Letter: Birth control, abortion should be woman's choice Why are Republicans so gung-ho on restricting birth control and abortion? That's easy. Republican legislators are so unpopular because they don't legislate and literally block all bills that would help the middle and lower income classes.

    July 22, 2014

  • Bannon, Tom Viewpoint: Paramount is an investment that is paying dividends About 25 years ago the citizens of Anderson made a decision that would have a long lasting impact on the community. Instead of saving the old Paramount Theatre, which had fallen into serious disrepair, it was decided that the easy and prudent decision was to get rid of the building to create additional downtown parking. Shortly after the Paramount came down, the community got rid of another abandoned structure when the old Carnegie Building, which was the former home of the Anderson Public Library, was torn down.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letter: Wall Street should not be in politics Talk about corruption, ponzi schemes, we're looking at you, Wall Street, controlling the prices of our food, gasoline and clothing we must buy and about every company in America — while trashing President Obama, the Affordable Health Care Plan, along with every Democrat, to influence our elections, at the same time.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: 23 Relay for Life teams raised $40,000 As chairs of this year's American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Madison County, we would like to thank everyone for their generosity and support.

    July 17, 2014

  • Letter: Ritz under attack by state education board I attended the Indiana State Board of Education meeting in Indianapolis on Wednesday, July 9, and was genuinely disturbed by what I saw.

    July 17, 2014

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