Doubting Thomas

Oliver Thomas’s Viewpoint ("How To Keep The ‘United’ In United States, February Church & State) advises Americans on mitigating the nation’s religious polarization. His advice is best ignored.

He equates secularists with the "far left," implying that they are polar opposites of religious rightists. In fact, conservatives and libertarians as well as liberals and socialists can be found in the secularist camp. Secularists do not seek to repress religious practice or to create a secular theocracy analogous to the theocratic goals of the religious right. Some might like to see churches, temples and mosques wither away under the assault of rational argument like smallpox has withered under the assault of vaccination, but they oppose using the power of the state to make that happen. By equating Dawkins and Harris and their kind with American’s religious fascists, we cut ourselves off from potent advocates of liberty.

Thomas asks us to refrain from calling it as we see it. He wants us to adopt a live-and-let-live ethic. Great for the right, dangerous for freedom. He has forgotten his Jefferson: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

—James Feeney
Philadelphia, Pa.