This is a response to a My Turn by the Rev. Tom Matthews on April 19.
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I would like to thank you for writing a letter. It is good to be reminded that God is a god of love instead of a god of petty vengeance. It also is good to be reminded that God calls us to come to him and does not send henchmen out to drive believers to him or die resisting.
I would point out that the hate comes from those who would use God as their personal "enforcer." The Pat Robertsons, the Fred Phelpses and others who claim that God would destroy cities and visit disasters upon the United States because we will not vilify and expel those whom God's "handlers" would have us vilify. The hate comes from those who claim it's God's will that they picket funerals of U.S. service people and those who die in domestic tragedies such as Virginia Tech. These people picket loudly with no respect for the feelings or beliefs of the mourners.
There is the hate Matthews speaks of. And because these evil persons call themselves Christians and quote the Christian Bible, the anti-Christian sentiments Fred Phelps and his ilk stir up are then attached to more biblical Christians - the Christians such as Matthews, who teaches the love and grace of God.
Matthews is absolutely correct: Tolerance does not mean what is being tolerated must be accepted as "right" and "true." As he said, it simply means the right to believe must be recognized.
And I agree that Christianity must be treated with the same respect and tolerance as the other religions practiced in our nation.
Those who protest the use of the Holy Bible to write U.S. laws are not anti-Christian. We want equal rights for all Americans, not just those Americans that meet certain Christians' approval.
I do not advocate the rejection of the Bible nor the pursuit of New Age philosophies. But I do want the laws, rights and responsibilities of all American citizens to be free of any religion's control.