By Larry Imhoff, May 14, 2008
Has the Holmen village board endorsed an official religion? Would the board allow an alternative group, say neo-Nazis or perhaps a satanic organization to display their sacred symbols on public property?
If the answer to the second question is “no,” then the answer to the first question is “yes.”
The Founding Fathers understood the need to protect religion from government. The Puritans and Pilgrims came to America because their religions were persecuted in their native lands; the same is true of many 19th century Eastern European immigrants. Their countries had official government religions and people not of that faith could be, and often were, persecuted.
They also understood the need to protect individuals from religion. For example, like those who were brutally tortured during the Spanish Inquisition, burned at the stake during the European and American witch hunts.
In America, religious individuals and groups enjoy nearly unlimited freedom to practice their faith. The price of this freedom is the tolerance of other’s beliefs and/or non-beliefs. This is as it should be, and it requires a complete separation of church and government.
To that end, the Holmen village board and other like-minded governmental organizations should get out of the religion business and back to the jobs for which they were elected. That is representing their citizens- all their citizens.