A writer (letter, Aug 28) cited “the separation of church and state” to lament conflicting global theism, without suggesting America’s liberation from the debate. Each person’s religious preference can be appreciated if everyone helps govern the nation under the preamble to the U.S. Constitution rather than under a ceremonial God.
America advertises “freedom of religion” but practices freedom of theism (belief in God). For 225 years, political regimes have imposed God onto the nation, oppressing persons whose theism seems unrepresented, plus today’s 70 million nontheists. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor endorsed the nation’s practice as “ceremonial deism.” What are the effects of ceremonial deism? During the last half-century — since the prayer “under God,” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance and the motto was changed to “In God We Trust” — America has declined. The motivation of mutually autonomous persons has faded to factional enmities — collectivism.
Poor performance by the churches and 50 percent divorce rates have exacerbated the decline. Without reliable candidates for fatherhood, many women are single parents. An estimated 100.1 million Americans have sexually transmitted diseases, and 20 million new cases arise each year, primarily among young persons.
Relief cannot come from either relaxed morals or inflexible churches. Persons must reform their nation to allow virtue to emerge from the majority’s personal behavior every day.
Such reform has been available to the eight generations of Americans who gradually secularized God. None have admitted to themselves that God is personal to each person and therefore keeps believers divided. Yet the majority of persons look to God for hope and comfort.
So, how could everyone mutually behave? Mutually focus on personal behavior to fulfill the preamble.
Fulfilling the seven secular goals stated in the preamble to the U.S. Constitution would accommodate each person’s approximately 20 years education followed by 60 years adulthood according to personl preferences. Religious opinion and political opinion would be appreciated like any other personal preference, such as favorite sport or preferred musical genre. However, autonomous persons would govern their factions to mutually fulfill the preamble.
To celebrate Constitution Day, Sept. 17, I encourage each person to consider what it means to be “We the People of the United States” as defined in the preamble. Ways to establish the preamble will emerge when the majority wants it.
retired chemical engineer