LETTER TO THE EDITOR: United States is a country of ideas, not laws

This is such a great country. And newspapers keep it free. From the days of Luther, posting his 95 Theses on the door of the church, to the hashtags of Twitter — newspapers remain that place where we look for the commentary of the day. When the imponderables of the day include why a terrorist straps bombs on and kills other people to the debate of individual versus the state on gun control — we express ourselves on the editorial pages of the newspaper. I know I find it important to share my views in that way. Free speech is so important.

Underlying all that is a belief that we can make a difference — that we all believe in the United States of America — as screwed up as our government is at times. Recently, Donald Trump, of all people, said the same thing as President Obama: “We are a county of laws”!

Well — I don’t think so. Why? Because when you view ISIS, they want a government of laws — their laws.

I think we are a country of ideas, and the freedom of ideas. Our founders were primarily Christians. They had been persecuted by governments that wanted them to believe as the government dictated. So, they set up a government to preserve the individual’s rights and a separation of their religion from the government.

Now, it seems to me that the underpinning of this country is a belief in the value of the individual to have freedom: Freedom to believe and express and prevail against tyranny. They were farmers and entrepreneurs. They were not all lawyers who valued laws, because they didn’t need a lot of laws. They all believed in the basic Judeo-Christian values and thought everybody saw the world as one that existed to honor the individual. You know, the way Christ saw it.

The importance of the prostitute and the taxpayer and the subordination of the priest to God — not the fact that the priest was in charge of society, any more than Caesar was in charge of the universe.

So, let’s see what is inherently evil in the Muslim terrorist — it is the law. The laws that say you must believe or I have the authority of “god” to cut your head off or blow you up with my bomb, and — “I will get to go to heaven” — not you.

I would say we are often, without realizing it, a Judeo-Christian nation who share our values of freedom — not a country of laws. And if we are really ever safe from terrorists, it comes from believing in a value system, not the law.

Emmett Venett

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