Letter to the editor: Are we losing our independence?

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The Founders used language to describe civic responsibility they meant to fend off religious attack. They’d known civil war and religious oppression. They were survivors of religious persecutions brought about by the creation of the Church of England and they fought the institutions responsible for it by declaring their independence.

I was once certain that language and our appreciation of history was enough to keep their dream alive. I’m no longer sure. I think it’s safe to say many Christians have been radicalized. My own brother rejects things he once knew to be true because they don’t comport with the story his church chooses to tell.

Most of this is brought on by a desire to reduce suffering through simplification. It is difficult to work with the full catastrophe of life, so we try not to look at it all at once. Some Christians have decided to take this too far, by blocking out what they don’t like, as though God had put it there by mistake. They ignore the wonderfully complicated world He created for selfish reasons without even realizing it.

In pursuit of simplicity Jesus and many other big thinkers were persecuted. When Christians adopted Roman ways they too began to do this. Constantine destroyed countless civilizations and attributed his misdeeds to God. Although that trend continued for millennia, most Christians tried to live like Christ, not Constantine.

We get frustrated when people don’t agree with us. That frustration is often seized upon by forces that cause harm. Be they disturbed thoughts that encourage us to compel or political movements designed to compel, Christ warned us not to give in to them.

History is a terribly complex model to base our future on. You must be willing to see that some claimed to be Christian in an effort to justify the terrible things they did or condoned in frustration, if you are to use it and religion as a guide. You have to know there’s a difference between doing good and claiming to do good.

The Founders understood that. Hopefully the majority of us do too.

Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine

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