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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Over the last couple of weeks I have watched the back and forth over whether this is a Christian Nation or not. The Aquila Gang against Larry Baca, right against left, The Constitution against the Bible. Whose side were the founders on? Each side had their quotes, some actual, some restated to fit their political view.

I grew up going to the Catholic Church, and then in my mid 20s I began attending Willow Creek Community Church. Those who attend Crossroads may be familiar with Willow Creek since your church utilized Willow Creek as a prototype for your church. Two things that I came away with from that church was their belief that if you want to better understand the teachings of Jesus, you need to study the politics, religion, and customs of the time, since they were all relative to the actions and symbolism that were in Jesus’ teachings. I was able to get books from the church that helped me paint a clearer picture of why he was relevant in his time. He became a real person dealing with real issues, many of which are still being dealt with in today’s world. The second thing that I came away with was a real sense of community, of people who took care of each other, and shared with each other, and no one was better than anyone else.

Many of the quotes that have been used are not exact quotes, and almost all are taken out of context. These quotes have been projected in modern sensibilities and customs, and not relative to the times that they lived.

Before quoting a founder, of which there were many, understand their times, and what the structure was at the time. The main founders that are typically quoted were complex people.  The one thing that they were against was tyranny, from the government, but also the predominant churches at the time. It was said that the King would control the country, and the church would control the people. There were colonies where the church would lay down laws and enforce these religious laws violently. You weren’t free to believe in your faith; rather you were required to follow theirs. John Adams was a first hand witness to this due to the fact that his father was a religious leader. This was very similar to how the political structure is in modern day Iran. It was this tyranny of the church that the founders were against, and why they gave freedom of religion so average citizens did not have to live under this kind of tyranny. People were and are allowed to practice their religion without persecution from a dominant religion, or a state-sanctioned church, which is what the founders’ intents were, not to limit religion, but to free it. This is obvious in the many “sects” of Christianity alone that there is in this country. Since we have freedom of religion, it really doesn’t matter, the followers can decide for themselves which is the correct one for them.

George Washington never professed his faith, and Jefferson rewrote his bible removing all of the miracles. He believed that a supreme being created the world, but that was the end of his involvement with it.  Adams’ love-hate relationship with religion is well documented as well. It doesn’t matter if they believed in a God or not, they wanted the citizens to believe what they wanted without persecution.

Frank Aquila and his gang are just pushing hot buttons and are trying to show the readers of this paper that they and their party represent all that is good in the world, and if you contest what they say, you are un-American. I say to them, follow the second thing I learned at Willow Creek, which is to help us build our community, and quit trying to tear it apart. No one part is greater than the whole.
 Scott Sadlowski
Dec. 15, 2009