Must still guard against zealots

Regarding the guest commentary by State Sen. Kevin Ranker, “Anti-discrimination battles fought here, too”: Our nation’s founders wanted to provide freedom for all religions. However, theocracy (rule by religion) isn’t compatible with democracy (rule by the people). So America’s founders separated religion from government; aiming to accommodate all beliefs so long as the believers didn’t interfere with the physical or mental well-being of other citizens.

This works for most of us as we use the Golden Rule rather than strict adherence to religious dogma. But it doesn’t work for zealots or phonies who cloak personal agendas in religion. And this leads to skirmishes between ordinary folks mostly focused on daily living, zealots fixated on spiritual salvation, and the self-absorbed who focus on personal benefit.

Zealots rarely gain traction in these skirmishes. But, occasionally, they join with political conservatives for mischief in the name of fighting sin; for example, the Civil War (many Christian religions believed non-whites weren’t human), Women’s suffrage (zealots still believe God made women inferior to men and unworthy of the vote or equal pay), the Volstead Act and Prohibition (zealots demonized drugs and alcohol). And today’s conservatives are backing laws pushed by zealots who want legalized discrimination against children and LGBT folks.

State Sen. Kevin Ranker commented that the above-mentioned discrimination is favored by our Legislature. So, live-and-let-live centrists and liberals might want to consider contacting their legislators — especially because it’s less bother to stop legislation than to work for repeal of a law that adversely affects family and friends.

Paul Heckel


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FILE — In this Sept. 17, 2020 file photo, provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Chelbee Rosenkrance, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, holds a male sockeye salmon at the Eagle Fish Hatchery in Eagle, Idaho. Wildlife officials said Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, that an emergency trap-and-truck operation of Idaho-bound endangered sockeye salmon, due to high water temperatures in the Snake and Salomon rivers, netted enough fish at the Granite Dam in eastern Washington, last month, to sustain an elaborate hatchery program. (Travis Brown/Idaho Department of Fish and Game via AP, File)
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