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RELIGION AND POLITICS

If 'every faith has its baggage,' he wants to scan candidates' carry-ons

September 8, 2011

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JEFF JACOBY (“Anti-religious diatribes come in many forms,’’ Aug. 31) misinterpreted Bill Keller’s Aug. 25 New York Times essay, referring to it as “another diatribe about religion.’’ It is not. Keller rightly points out that “every faith has its baggage.’’

For example, part and parcel of the Catholic Church’s baggage are the Inquisition, the clergy sexual abuse scandal, and the absolute prohibition against birth control and abortion. Were I to vote for Catholic candidate Rick Santorum (God forbid), tough questions about his Catholic baggage would be in order.

Richard J. Beauchesne
Wilmington
The writer is professor emeritus of religious studies at Emmanuel College.

Founders were aware of dangers of fundamentalism

RE “ANTI-RELIGIOUS diatribes come in many forms’’ (Op-ed, Aug. 31): It is astounding that Jeff Jacoby does not understand the danger of politicians with strong religious views. Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Jewish, or Islamic, requires believers to embrace an absolutist view of reality; however, since reality has a habit of contradicting such a view, they engage in spiritual and intellectual dishonesty to reconcile the conflict. Religiously grounded politicians, such as Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, would leave us unprepared for a difficult future.

The Founding Fathers made sure we have freedom to worship as we want, but most of them were aware of the dangers of religion. Thomas Jefferson stated it most succinctly when he wrote, in response to criticism from the fundamentalists of his day: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.’’

Alan Wright
Dedham


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