|December 17, 1999|
John Silveira has received a number of very critical letters recently about his homeschooling science articles in the last two issues, mainly because he talks about evolution. We’ve even had one subscription cancellation, citing the article as the reason.
In spite of the hotly-worded protests, our online survey shows Silveira is one of our most popular writers. In fact, 97% of the survey respondents heard from to date want Silveira to write the “same” number or “more” articles than he now writes.
I even took a survey in my own office. Here we have seven Christians, one Jew, and 2 Agnostics. Of the seven Christians, we have two members of the Church of Christ, two Presbyterians, two Baptists, and one nondenominational. Four of these Christians are creationists, two evolutionists, and one believes either is possible. The one Jew and both Agnostics are evolutionists. That’s a pretty split vote for creationism vs. evolution.
And like the online survey, Silveira is a very popular writer in the office here, with everyone wanting him to write the “same” number or “more” articles. None of our Christian staff said they were offended by John’s articles.
Nathele Graham, who handles a lot of the phone calls from subscribers, told me that a number of callers don’t necessarily agree with John’s views, but they say: “He makes me think.” Nathele’s husband, Ron Graham, our Operations Manager who believes the bible states how many thousands of years ago God created the earth, said he has a “live and let live” attitude. “John has a right to express his views,” he said.
All of which makes me think that 97% of BHM’s readership, and all of BHM’s staff, have a much better idea of what America is about than the few people who wrote the critical letters about Silveira. The letter writers represent, I believe, a vocal “far right” minority which has little use for the freedoms Americans enjoy, just as their counterpart, namely the “far left” socialist minority that controls much of America’s government today, has little regard for America’s freedoms.
My point can be quickly illustrated by using two examples from history: the Holy Roman Empire and the Soviet Union.
The Holy Roman Empire, which existed from about 800 AD until about 1800 AD, was one of the major religion-controlled civilizations of history. Ecclesiastics, namely the Catholic Church, ran everything, and they readily tortured and executed all those not conforming to their beliefs. Forget freedom to think or do what you wanted. When learned people like Galileo suggested simple changes to orthodox doctrine, such as when he said the sun, rather than the earth, was at the center of the solar system, the Pope had him thrown into prison. Many such “heretics” were burned alive.
Later in history, when the atheistic philosophy of communism took hold in Russia in 1917, then spread to much of Eastern Europe, it was the Christians turn to be persecuted for not believing in what the Soviets termed Dialectical Materialism. This socialist philosophy ruled as firmly as had the Ecclesiastics. They imprisoned, tortured, and executed non-conformists.
The United States, on the other hand, was founded upon the principle that an individual could think and believe whatever he or she wanted. America’s Founding Fathers, who were mainly educated men who sought to understand history and learn from its lessons, realized that neither religion nor anti-religion groups had any business running governments or people’s lives. Control by either group always led to the persecution of the other group, not to mention all kinds of groups in between. They realized people had to be let run their own lives, so they devised our system of government to allow the individual maximum freedom.
But ever since the founding of America’s government, the right wing religious zealots left over from the sorry days of religious rule and the left wing socialist zealots left over from the sorry days of communist rule, have been trying to regain control. They have very vocal adherents who try to shout down individuals at every opportunity.
If we ever let either of them back in the driver’s seat of government, and we are on the verge of giving it over to the socialists again now, the persecutions of the other side will resume with vigor. But as much as I dread the socialists achieving total control in America, I equally dread a return to Ecclesiastic rule. Both would be a calamity, especially for we individual types who tend to read a magazine like BHM.
America’s government, as founded, is the best that’s ever been. It allows everyone with a voice to speak and be heard, and to live whatever life they want. It’s nice to see that the overwhelming majority of BHM’s readership supports that important principle.