, Salem, MA

July 27, 2013

Letter: Diversity requires tolerance of opinions

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

What perfect irony that Brian Watson should seek to rewrite American democracy in his July Fourth commentary (“It’s time to rethink our religions,” July 4).

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are no longer the revue of a free people, but their ideas need to be edited, redacted and approved by others who have our best interests in mind. While the Constitution speaks of not establishing a religion, it guarantees the freedom to practice one’s own religion and to think for one’s self. Secular humanists, like Mr. Watson, should not trespass on others’ beliefs as a prerequisite to their own freedom.

Open societies build consensus and adjust to opinions and do not coerce the thoughts of private parties. Can those who have no basis, profession or experience in the faith or association of others serve as the arbiter of what passes for acceptable thought or practice? How will society decide? Is Mr. Watson one of the enlightened few who will determine what is to be purged and what is to be retained? Please prepare to abandon the First Amendment to the Constitution and the freedom to follow your conscience.

Diversity requires tolerance of the opinions of others whether one agrees with their opinions or not. Societies progress through consensus weighting many opinions and disparate views into a blended unity. Mr. Watson needs to make peace with people of faith lest his own rights get swept up in the maelstrom of censorship and repression. Editing religion passes beyond the democracy that the founders sought to craft for us. Freedom of thought, religion and free association depart in Mr. Watson’s brave new order. He compels us to the Orwellian future where, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.” The new thought leaders crave is a homogenized world where they have crafted the perfect order. All the world hails diversity, except the diversity of opinion.

Dan Fitzgerald