KIM–611 WORDS…I’M NOT SAYING TO EDIT IT OR NOT, BUT WE REFUSED JOEL’S REQUEST FOR 530…Religious beliefs have no place in legistlative acts–KED

Alissa R. Melczer

George Bush has crossed the line. It is one thing to try and skirt his political views with religion, but it is another to blatantly put it out there with everything but the religion label. I am referring both to his views of gay marriages and to his doubling the money given to sexual abstinence programs in the new budget proposal. While he has declined to say so publicly, no one would be surprised if Bush were to back congress if they decided to amend the constitution to make homosexual marriages illegal. If that happens, what is the point of having basic freedoms at all?In the Declaration of Independence we are broadly told of our unalienable Rights, one of which is the pursuit of Happiness. This declaration of our independence as a free country goes on to tell us that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” It scares me that there are so many conservative men and women running our country who bring personal religious beliefs to work. Who are they to tell the citizens of a free country what constitutes their happiness, what is considered right or wrong in the sacred union of love between two people? It is not up to the government, as it stands, to oppress homosexuals because the Bible tells them what is right and what is wrong. This same Bible says that anyone who works on the Sabbath shall be put to death (Ex. 35:2). We as citizens of the United States, of a democratic country where we are told we are free to speak our minds, need to start questioning why such a selective belief system is imbedding itself in politics. It was Adolf Hitler who said, “I am convinced that I am acting as an agent of out Creator. I am doing the Lord’s work.” We all know what happened to 12 million non-blue eyed, light haired Aryans during World War II. Is that kind of oppression going to resurface in a strict religious form through our government?This meld between church and state is additionally apparent in Bush’s budget proposal. There is supposed to be a visible definition between personal religious beliefs and what goes on in public classrooms. I will agree that, yes, abstinence is important to teach to students in health ed., but it should not be valued above or below safe sex contraceptive practices. The surgeon general has even noted that research shows that programs solely teaching abstinence are not as effective as programs that teach both abstinence and contraception. My concern is that the money allotted for these abstinence education programs will not be well spent. People who think that solely teaching abstinence is okay are ignorant to the fact that sometimes kids will not do what their parents want them to. They need to be aware of the fact that we can teach younger generations about abstinence and safe contraceptive practices while still trying to instill good moral values. Just because students learn about how to guard against the risk of STDs does not mean that they are getting the go ahead from their teachers and parents to have sex.This union of church and state is a doctrine our forefathers opposed. This country was founded on the basis of political, religious, moral, and intellectual freedoms. It is not the place of the government to take these freedoms away from the people.