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Travel-Trip-France-Jefferson in Paris

The Statue of Thomas Jefferson faces the Legion of Honour building (right) in Paris. The building was the inspiration for Jefferson's Monticello house located just outside Charlottesville, Va.

Oscar Blomstedt (“Don’t compromise values in schools,” Nov. 2) wants parents to reclaim our public schools.

Surely, he knows that public schools are under the control of an elected school board. Is he calling for parents to vote to oust school board members because they have values that differ from his values?

There is a reason Christian values are not taught in public schools. Mr. Blomstedt should read Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists.

In the letter, "Jefferson used the metaphor of the 'wall of separation between church and state,' a phrase that, as the Supreme Court once noted, has come to be accepted as an authoritative declaration of the scope and meaning of the First Amendment."

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Jefferson was affirmed in Reynolds v. the United States. Reynolds, a Mormon, argued that laws against bigamy violated his religious duty to practice plural marriage. The Supreme Court ruled that Reynolds is free to believe he should practice plural marriage, but he is not free to disobey secular laws against bigamy.

The U.S. cannot be a theocracy where religious laws determine how people must behave. In the past, religious laws banning birth control, sodomy, abortion and gay marriage have existed. The Supreme Court struck down these laws because they violate separation of church and state.

I am thankful that the First Amendment protects me from religious zealots who want to force their religious beliefs on those of us who reject religious morality.

William Boernke, Lincoln

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