Country Runs On Judeo-Christian Ethic?
AU's Lynn Challenges Rep. Ball's Claim That 'Country Runs On Judeo-Christian Ethic That Comes From Bible'
A Florida legislator's claim that American law should conform to his interpretation of the Bible is badly mistaken, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Last week, Rep. Randy Ball (R-Titusville) issued a public letter defending a Florida law that prohibits adoption by gay people. The letter, issued on official state stationary, insisted that a "transcendent God" oversees the world and "condemns homosexuality as an abomination." In follow-up emails, Ball invoked the authority of Jesus Christ.
In a subsequent interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Ball said his position on gay adoption is "religiously based" and that it is a "theological issue." Commenting on his letter, he added, "This gives me a chance to get the truth out, uncut. This country runs and operates on the Judeo-Christian ethic that comes from the Bible."
Responded the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, "Rep. Ball is badly mistaken. The United States is governed by the Constitution, not religious law.
"This is America, not Iran," Lynn continued. "Religious leaders have every right to speak out on public issues, but public officials have no right to try to force their interpretation of the Bible on all people. Officials should concern themselves with secular law, not theology."
Ball is increasingly serving as a Religious Right point man in the Florida legislature. A graduate of the Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Ball is working on the gay adoption issue in cooperation with the Family Research Council, a political spinoff group of James Dobson's Focus on the Family.
Ball appeared on ABC's "Primetime" program to counter talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell's assertion that gay people make good parents and should be allowed to adopt children.
Concluded AU's Lynn, "America is an incredibly diverse nation, where people adhere to thousands of different religious traditions and where many follow no spiritual path at all. It would be disastrous if our elected officials tried to impose one religious viewpoint on us through force of law. Public issues should be discussed in ways that do not inflame religious tensions and provoke bigotry against minorities."
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.