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FIRST AMENDMENT: Christians need it, too

| June 9, 2024 1:00 AM

Christians need to remind themselves of the importance of the First Amendment. If we get rid of it, we’ll regret it. The First Amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free expression thereof.”

History is full of examples of violent conflicts between religious groups with differing religious ideas, including different Christian groups. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the primary writers of the constitution, clearly understood the danger of wedding religious faith with political power. However, some Christian groups are currently stating the signers of the Constitution intended the U.S. should be a Christian nation.

Recent Supreme Court decisions support the expressions of some Christian religious values. This would be a threat to non-Christians. This also raises the question: Which Christians are we talking about? There are wide differences among Christians: Presbyterians, Mormons, Catholics and Evangelicals, to mention a few, and they differ widely in beliefs and practices. Those differences are presumably all protected under the constitution.

When groups are in direct competition with each other for political influence and money (e.g. competing for government school voucher funds) there is an opportunity for conflict and violence. We don’t have to go back very far in history for examples of Americans killing each other because of religious differences. We need a reaffirmation of the First Amendment and the separation of church and state.

RICHARD CRIPE

Coeur d’Alene