Didn’t we settle here to escape tyranny?

President Bush says he will allow the government to support a finite number of patented stem cell lines, which will now be expensive, not do the job and in time run out. The president’s decision is an obvious attempt to get those who believe he doesn’t care for anyone lower than the boardroom off his back, and placate the religious special interest groups. I’m sure it was explained to the religious leaders that this was a necessary political ploy that will, at the conclusion of the stem cell lines, legally prevent the government from supporting further research.

But the ones who bother me are the religious leaders who seem to have forgotten that the first settlers came to these shores to escape religious tyranny. Fortunately the framers didn’t; which is why they did not allow any reference to religion in the Constitution and banned its inclusion in law with the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion…” The framers did not want a state-sanctioned religion, even one they believed in, forcing other American citizens to live under religious doctrine. An example: Passing a law that infers that life begins at conception. Since that is a singularly religious belief, that is not even accepted in all religions, let alone the citizenry as a whole, the law would be unconstitutional.

The primary purpose of the Constitution is to protect the minority from the tyranny of the majority, whether that is an entrenched government or religion. The framers took care of the former by dividing the power of government and giving us the ability to change it every two years, while the First Amendment bans religion from law. If your religion gives you direction and solace, I’m happy for you. Religion should be enjoyed, not imposed.

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