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Letters to the Herald

Karen Smith evokes Jefferson at Central Bucks swearing in


The op-ed section of the Dec. 14 issue of the Bucks County Herald carried an attack on Karen Smith, the newly installed chair of the Central Bucks School Board.

The author denounced Smith for taking her oath of office not on the Bible but on a stack of controversial books. The guest opinion writer accused Smith of allegedly attacking the United States and its bedrock values. I would argue that Smith’s defiant gesture evokes one of this country’s most quintessential principles as expressed by Thomas Jefferson on Sept. 23, 1800: “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

As a lifelong practicing Catholic, I have nothing against the Bible. I read and meditate on Holy Scripture every day. That practice has taught me to abhor the weaponization of religion for partisan political purposes.

The best remedy for Christians concerned about the defections shrinking their ranks and the corresponding reduction in the influence of Christian values is to act more like the God they purport to worship.

Living the Gospel message of love and compassion will win more converts than punitive legislation and policies that target vulnerable groups.

Remember that Jesus reserved his harshest words for the sanctimonious and self-righteous who used religion to oppress others.

Gregory J.W. Urwin, Doylestown Township

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