MY WORD: Souder’s mix of politics, religion needs balance

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By Rodney P. Dempsey

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, on the right of the people peaceably, to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Those are the words of the Constitution, and throughout the Bible, we are taught to love God. That is the first law and the greatest. It is found in all 66 books. In Shelby County we have more churches and ministers than we do lawyers. Each church has a little different interpretation of the Bible. Lawyers interpret the Constitution as it benefits their clients, ministers as it benefits their Congregations.

Freedom of the press allows The Sentinel-Newsto choose Chuck Souder to represent Religious thought to its readers.

My religion teaches me to be open-minded and to be considerate of the thoughts and beliefs of others. I need to listen, read and be observant of the actions of religious people. God continues to reveal much to me through his word and the teaching of others. I have to be careful not to mold God's word into my personal perception. That takes a lot of objective study. Unlike Mr. Souder,  I believe that human beings, not God, have written the Bible. Down through history, thousands of editors have interpreted and changed the wording of the Scriptures. Important discoveries , such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, have been enlightening to theologians and scholars.

The Sentinel-Newshas made the choice to publish Mr. Souder’s opinions. He has a Constitutional right to express that opinion. I believe in both of those rights, 100 percent. I need to read what you write and think objectively about it. My mind is limited, and, I admit, I can be prejudiced in my thinking. I have had a sticker on the back windshield of my car for many years that states, "God is not a Republican, or a Democrat." I believe that. 

My concern with  the tenor of Mr. Souder’s column is that he may attribute  his personal opinion to God. The people of Shelby County are God-fearing, and many will take what you say as the gospel truth. Like the writers and editors of the Bible, I am afraid that you may have the propensity to interpret Chuck Souder's thoughts as Scriptural. There can be an inherent public danger in speaking politically on what Mr. Souder perceives as the opinion of God.

I can love him as a person, but still disagree with him Biblically. I believe the Jewish leaders of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ, the Disciples and Apostles all had a huge communications challenge when they interpreted God's word to a great variety of audiences. Be very thoughtful.

The Sentinel-Newshas given Mr. Souder the opportunity to comment on matters of religion.  That means he should be responsible, objective, and honest in what he feels that God wants him to say to the newspaper’s readers. There is a divergence of religious and political opinion in Shelby County.


Rodney P. Dempsey lives in Shelbyville.