Bill Russell: Separation of Church and State

Guest column

Recently Mr. Brandon Achor announced his candidacy for the new Legislative seat in the Maumelle area. In his announcement he referred to wanting to “represent values that we all share” and proceeded to emphasize supporting law enforcement and promoting competition in our educational system. I understand the “dog whistle” undertones to such statements which appeal to Christian Nationalists.

One of these undertones seems to be that he supports tax dollars being used to finance private Religious schools. In the history of our Republic no less than 10 Presidents from Washington to Carter have re-emphasized the tenant of separation of Church and State.. A Poll by the Pew Research Center in October of this year showed that 55% of Americans are strong or moderate supporters of Church-State separation, 67% reject the idea that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God, and 69% said the U.S. government should never declare any religion as the official faith of the United States.

I am 100% for Religious freedom. The “Jesus Saves” signs, banners, license plates, billboards, etc. are instruments of proselytism, which groups have every right to display if they are on private land and privately funded. However the use of tax dollars to support faith based schools and agencies who discriminate, or include  religious indoctrination as part of their operation seems wrong..

The truth is we all have differing values. As someone once said, “If we are all thinking alike – then no one is thinking”, but one value I do hope that he and his friend Leslie Rutledge share with me is that the terrorist attack by American Traitors on the secular and constitutional government of the United States and attendant Law enforcement on January 6, 2021 was wrong, shameful, and un-American.