LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Revisiting the revisionist history of religious freedom

I used to read the commentary of Grover Johnson with a chuckle assuming that most of what he said had to be meant as either comedy or satire. Shockingly, I see that this person actually believes the drivel he writes. For some time, I’ve lamented about today’s “millennial” generation and where they got their far-fetched ideas. It doesn’t take much of a leap to see that actually having people like Grover Johnson teaching them in our schools is the most likely reason.

After his most-recent letter [“A refresher course in America’s religious freedom,” Aug. 22], I would like to invite him to read the Preamble to the Constitution before he claims fame, like our current president, to being a constitutional scholar. It reads, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Please read that, as there’ll be a test later.

I’m particularly glad he used the Virginia analogy in refuting why the Pilgrims came to America. A simple check on the Internet uses the reference from the Henrico, Virginia, school system to state they came for “religious freedom.” They came not for freedom FROM religion but freedom OF religion that was not sanctioned by the Church of England. Saying they could have gone someplace else is really a moot issue. Mr. Johnson could have stayed in Virginia instead of moving to Delaware. I can only suppose they chose America as there was hope for them in a “New World” of that time.

His next major misstep was implying that “Pilgrims” settled in Virginia. The actual Pilgrims were a very small sect of people from a small town in England who, after sending scouts to America, decided to move to Plymouth Harbor [in Massachusetts] to establish a community. Others seeking similar freedoms expanded that growth, and such a group did, in fact, settle in Virginia.

Part of those early religions came to believe that “witchcraft” (actually, Satan in disguise) was the cause of sudden dire events and catastrophes. The way witches were treated varied accordingly, and Virginia was no different. Usually, the punishment for witchcraft was public humiliation or fines. The most famous trial was of a woman who was subjected to the “water test,” whereby she was bound and thrown in a river. If she sank, she was innocent; if she floated, she was guilty. She floated. She was rescued, and later had her conviction overruled. There is no record of Virginia ever executing a single witch.

Next comes as Mr. Johnson’s continued insistence that socialism is not a form of government. I’m not bilingual, but I am rather fluent in English. Nowhere does the definition of “socialism” appear that it doesn’t say that it is a “system” by which the community, rather than the individual, regulates all activities. If that “system” is not synonymous with “government,” perhaps he will enlighten us.

In his usual ultra-leftist insistence that the entire Constitution is wrong, he reads things into it that simply aren’t there without his political-correctness meanings. Time for the test, Mr. Johnson: Using the Preamble, exactly who is covered by its directives?

“We the people of the United States” is rather plain in that it references citizens who proclaim their allegiance to the United States. That being said, persons, not citizens of the U.S. certainly have no protections under the Constitution. Now, if you’d like, as the Supreme Court erroneously did, to incorporate readings of the Federalist Papers in their stance on “separation of church and state,” perhaps you can also make the case for illegal immigrants having rights.

No other nation in the world uses our Constitution, and certainly, none allow immigrants, many times even legal ones, to have any say in how their government operates. (I won’t bother you with reading the English and punctuation in the Second Amendment but would refer you to quotes by Jefferson and Washington concerning its importance. Even our greatest scholars conclude that the Second Amendment is the linchpin of the Bill of Rights, which you so cavalierly would cast aside.)

In closing, I suppose I missed your point about Obama not labeling “radical Muslim terrorists” not being politically correct. Like his “undocumented visitors” instead of “illegal aliens,” much of America outside its socialist welfare centers in big cities is simply fed up with putting lipstick on the pig.

I actually care little about your ultra-leftist, communist/socialist/progressive leanings, but I would appreciate you not trying to rewrite history and redefine our dictionaries, especially when you demonstrate your inability to do it with objectivity.

George Roof

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