A collection of the original response, plus the responses to the response.
Published March 7, 2013
Photo by Hudson Lofchie
You can find responses to my other columns HERE
YOU CAN FIND MY ORIGINAL COLUMN HERE.
HERE IS THE ORIGINAL RESPONSE, SENT TO ME OCT 19, 1012
*note: I have left all of the spelling errors as they were sent…and yes, this guy is a doctor.
Dear Mr. Lofchie,
Your article in The Aggie of Thursady, October 18, was flawed in an
imporatn particular, that is, in your statement that “politians base their
actions in office on religious beliefs — a direct violation of the
constitutional church/state separation mandate.”
You do not know much about the constitution,if you think it says that
people are not supposed to act in ways consistent with their beliefs. That
is absurd, since the constitution addressed only what the government
should do and not do, not what its citizens and elected representatives do
and not do.
Also, you seem to think that people who believe the Bible, which states
that Adam was a real man, must be uneducated, ignorant and of very low
intelligence. That is hardly the case, since highly educated poeple such
as myself, with several graduate degrees, believe the Bible, literally.
Your sheltered life is showing, and it is making you look foolish.
Roger Littge, M.D.
Professor, Family Practice, (retired)
Spelling and grammar aside…it is not me who looks foolish. But hey, you deserve a response none the less.
My response is below:
Dear Dr. Littge,
First off, I want to thank you for taking the time to voice your opinions. Most of the time, people just read an article and never take the time to become involved with what they are reading. Despite our differing opinions, I am glad that you took the time to contact me.
That being said, there are a few things I would like to explain, mainly the reasons why I felt compelled to write so strong a column.
In your email, you say “the constitution addressed only what the government should do and not do, not what its citizens and elected representatives do and not do.” However, you must realize that a government is made of elected officials, and that elected government is meaningless and powerless without the citizens who elect and support it. The true meaning of democracy is to find laws and morals that are applicable to every one, of every faith, and even those without faith.
Without conveying my support for either Liberals or Conservatives, I want to point to something that President Obama said; something that I believe is impossible to disagree with without exposing personal biases and bigotry.
He says “Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific values…it requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason. If I seek to pass a law banning [abortion], I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church, or evoke god’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”
A Rabbi once explained to me what he believed freedom and democracy were really about. You are free to own a gun, he said, and you are free to have a religion. You are not free, however, to use a gun to take away the freedoms of others, and you are not free to use your religion to take away the freedoms of others.
If a citizen doesn’t believe in abortion, they do not have to get one. If a citizen does not believe in birth control, they do not have to use it. If a citizen believes that same-sex marriage is a sin, then they do not have to marry someone of the same sex. If a citizen wants their children to learn about creationism, then that citizen can take their children to church. That is what freedom is.
Contrary to what your email said, I never asserted that people should not act in ways consistent with their beliefs. People should do what they believe to be right, but they should not use a personal belief to hinder the actions of others who do not share those same beliefs. Furthermore, also contrary to what you said in your email, I never asserted that people with faith are unintelligent and uneducated. Many of the greatest intellectual minds in human history had strong religious convictions, however, that ratio is dwindling rapidly (see the link at the end of this letter for the study on the subject).
The last point that I want to raise is the idea of literal belief in the bible. The bible has many, many lessons that are beneficial to all mankind; do not murder, do not steal, do not rape, do not cheat…these are moral guidelines that everyone of every faith or lack thereof can follow wholeheartedly. But when someone says that they believe the bible literally, I become concerned.
As a medical doctor, you must appreciate the idea of accuracy; accurate diagnoses, accurate dosages, accurate information, etc. Without discounting any of the positive moral lessons contained within its pages, the bible is full of many contradictions and inaccuracies.
Also, I have read the bible. If you take what it says literally, then it is painfully clear that it was not written by an inspired, loving, omniscient being. It was written by stone-age men with barbaric beliefs. The bible advocates slavery (Leviticus 25:44 and Exodus 21:7-11). The bible advocates the subjugation of women (1 Timothy 2:11-15). The bible advocates rape (Deuteronomy 22:23-29), genocide (Numbers 31:7-18, Judges 21:10-24), and murder is the punishment for everything. For the sake of brevity, I will stop the list here.
I believe that healthy debate is the key to progress in any situation. I also believe that there is a place in this world for religion. I have no qualms with what you or anyone does in church, but when you take what you learn in church and try to control a nation’s population with it, that is when I have a problem.
This is a subject that I am truly passionate about. In all honesty, I would love to hear what it is like being a medical doctor with strong religious convictions.
All the best,
Aggie Science Editor
Link to the study I mentioned
I tried to be nice. I tried to ask questions. But no…he had to go and write this. My favorite part is how he refers to the president.
Dear Mr. Lofchie,
Thanks for your reply.
You say, in your reply: “Contrary to what your email said, I neverasserted that people should not act in ways consistent with their beliefs”
That is inconsistent with what you actually wrote in your
column: “”politians base their actions in office on religious beliefs — adirect violation of the constitutional church/state separation mandate.”
You cannot have it both ways. You said in your column that it is a
violation of the constitution to base actions on religious belief, which
is not only not true, but is inconsistent, as I pointed out, with what you
wrote to me in response to my message.
Also, I could not possibly care less what B. Hossein Obama has to say
about anything, much less an issue involving the constitution.
Roger Littge, M.D.
(Prof. — Fam. Practice, retired)
Words escape me.