To the editor:
I am writing to express my objection and deep concern over the city of Steubenville's recent capitulation to the agenda of a special interest group calling themselves the Freedom from Religion Foundation Inc. This group apparently objected to the inclusion of a silhouette of the Christ the King Chapel, which represents in the city of Steubenville logo the importance of the Franciscan University of Steubenville to our community. This inclusion was simply of a landmark in our community and was not an effort by the city government to establish or promote any religious faith.
Perhaps just a grain of courage exhibited by the city in resisting this intrusion to the representation of an important part of the culture of our area would have been met with overwhelming public support and the contribution of funds for legal defense.
I'm afraid that the Freedom from Religion Foundation has it all wrong. Neither the Constitution nor the founders intended the United States to be free from religion, but guaranteed that the citizens would be free to practice their chosen faith uninhibited by the historical tyranny seen in some governments of Europe to select a particular faith with the exclusion of others for its citizens.
By rolling over in such a weak manner, the local officials become enablers in the effort of the very few to suppress the many.
On Aug. 16, 1858, President James Buchanan responded to a one-sentence congratulatory cable from Queen Victoria regarding the first trans-Atlantic telegraph transmission. Far from freeing the country "from" religion, the following short note reveals the importance of faith for those in government during the first 150 years of our history:
"May the Atlantic Telegraph, under the blessing of heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument designed by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty and law throughout the world."
We've certainly come a long way, the wrong way.
Thomas R. Brown