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Social Issues: Letters

From: Ross Olson []
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2005 11:23 AM
To: Editor Star Tribune (
Subject: Ben Franklin

Eric Utne (10/28/05) looks at Ben Franklin through 21st Century eyes and sees a New Ager. Clues to his misinterpretation are right there in his quotes of "Poor Richard" who clearly affirmed most of the tenets of the Christian faith, although even in his time he was not considered completely orthodox. But Utne also confuses Franklin's famous epitaph, looking forward to resurrection as the replacement of his body with "a new more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author" for an endorsement of reincarnation. Further, Utne's take on the meaning of "religion," like that of most revisionists, fails to recognize that at the time it referred to denominational differences within an assumed Christian framework. Finally, the "wall of separation" is assumed uncritically to be the exclusion of religion from public life instead of non-interference of government in affairs of the churches, even though the structure of government is filled with evidence that prayer, scripture and seeking the guidance of God were considered foundational.

Ross Olson

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