Letters to the Editor

Setting the record straight on American history

Two letters to the Union last week seemed to make interpretive mistakes. One by Leland Graber of Wayland pointed out contemptuously that the Democratic Party had its roots in the segregated South. But Mr. Graber avoided the self-evident recognition that the Democratic Party has changed with history and grown, till now it is the party that chooses to unite the many peoples of the United States.

The second by Robert Batey of Mt. Pleasant pointed out correctly that “our wonderful nation was settled by a very large percentage of Christians.” But Mr. Batey avoided acknowledging that the larger percentage of native peoples who were eliminated or isolated by that small number of settlers were not Christians. He avoided acknowledging that Jewish people were already by 1776 an important minority of Americans. He avoided the fact that so-called “Free-Thinkers” persecuted in England were among the settlers. He avoided facing the fact that what defined “Christian” at that time was a subject of fierce and ugly, even murderous debate among Catholic, Quaker, Congregational, Presbyterian, and Methodist Christians, most of whom condemned the others to perdition.

But Mr. Batey goes further and makes a mistake of fact by stating “Our last president made it very obvious that he had no concerns for Christians.” On the contrary, President Obama and his family were and are devout Christians. Obama had presidential concern for Christians within the limits of a carefully designed, non-religious constitutional government. For which carefully designed government, we should all thank God. I am embarrassed to correct him, but Mr. Batey is wrong about old as well as recent history.