The following letter to the editor appeared in the Modesto Bee on Monday, February 27th, 2012.
The Bee generally accords religion the significance it merits in world and local culture. Unfortunately, on Feb. 21, it printed two cartoons on the Opinions page that ridiculed Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.
There’s been a good deal of silly talk recently about the “virtues” of atheism and the “illogic” of religion. Some say that the public expression of belief in a higher power (“religion”) harms society. Certainly some types of religion are better than others, and some will practice even the best of religions badly. But is religion in itself bad for society? To answer that question, simply look at the societies that have tried to eliminate religion: Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Cuba, for starters. Others come to mind: North Korea, Vietnam, and Myanmar. Europe has been trying to eliminate religion for the last forty years, and is now headed for bankruptcy. America, by contrast, has retained a healthier respect for religion, and religious freedom. Is it only by coincidence that America also leads world culture and economics? America has retained a healthy respect for religion and religious freedom until … now. Do we really want to go the way Europe is going?