Carnes: If you base your morality on a book, don’t expect everyone else to do the same (column)

Richard Carnes
My View

Imagine, if you will, elected officials at the town of Avon declaring the following:

As of July 1, licensed retailers, wholesalers, bars and restaurants within town borders will no longer be allowed to sell food items containing pork, shellfish or beef products made from crossbred cattle.

Furthermore, no clothing made from the mixing of fabrics will be allowed, and no employees will be accepted for employment if they have tattoos, piercings, have been divorced or committed adultery.

And every business must be closed on Sundays.

Would you be shocked?

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Appalled? Offended?

Last week, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “It is very biblical to enforce the law …” in reference to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ biblical defense of the administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families at the border by claiming “to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

The town of Avon would do no such thing, of course, as every scenario listed is complete fiction, yet actual fact when applied to the religious book Sessions and Sanders are referencing.

No pork, shellfish, beef from crossbred cattle, mixed fabrics, tattoos, piercings, divorces, adulterers or working on Sundays, and the penalty called for each is usually death.

Downright barbaric, if you ask me.

Feel free to make up your own mind, but in 2018, there is great comfort and joy to be found in a simple appreciation of reality, and for any government official to use religious texts as a moral basis for laws not only goes against common sense but common decency, as well.

There are many reasons the U.S. Constitution is better than any religious doctrine ever conceived, and one of the best is that none of its 4,543 words are referencing any particular deity or cult.

This was no accident, as Americans do not live under a theocracy.

Our democracy (constitutional republic, whatever, keep your skirt on …) has no business telling anyone what they should or should not believe in, hence our freedom of religion, so if you wish to base your personal morality on a book condoning slavery and the killing of children who disrespect their parents (talk about a zero-tolerance policy …), well, then you have my support.

Not my respect, mind you, but my support as far as the U.S. Constitution is concerned.

Morality is simply doing the right thing — not because you are told but because it is the right thing to do. Most of it comes from our parents, and most of theirs came from their parents and on down the line back as far as the first human looked up and wondered where the sun went at night and who should we kill to make sure it comes back.

Regardless of one’s opinion on the immigration issue and the separating of children from their parents, no government official should attempt to hide such nonsensical behavior behind a book — any book.

No matter how you try to twist it, America is better than this.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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