An Open Letter to Fox News' Hannity and Colmes

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Dear Sean Hannity
and Alan Colmes,

On November
29th, your show’s administrators contacted the local University
of Florida libertarian group in an effort to have a discussion over
a recent issue involving the separation between church and state.
The Libertarian Activist Network, of which I am a cofounder, was
chosen by your staff and we proceeded to conclude when and where
we could have this discussion. I agreed to represent my organization
and have meaningful discourse with the show regarding the subject
at hand. The issue involved a monument to the Ten Commandments that
was erected at the Dixie County Courthouse near Gainesville, Florida
in an effort to connect the laws of our nation with that of Judeo-Christian
religions.

As I was getting
mentally prepared for the television broadcast, your administrators
notified me that they had gotten another individual to take my spot:
the leader of the atheist and agnostics on the University of Florida
campus. Sadden by the change of heart on part of the Hannity and
Colmes staff, I thought hard and well as to the reasons why a libertarian
representative would be replaced with an atheist instead. One conclusion
might be suggested that by inviting a representative of an atheist
group to present the counterpoint in the Ten Commandments discussion,
the show would immediately turn the impending deep and important
political discourse into a religious ramble. The matter at hand
has less to do with Christianity in itself and more to do with the
Constitution and the separation between church and state. It is
vital that the state not favor any specific religion over another,
and by displaying monuments to the commandments of the Judeo-Christian
religions at a courthouse, the state is doing just that. In essence,
it is a matter of the constitutionality of the subject and not of
the importance of Christian themes in our moral systems.

In addition,
many of the individuals in favor of these Ten Commandment displays,
such as you, Sean Hannity, claim that the United States of America
is a Christian nation founded on Christian laws; this can not be
farther from the truth. In all reality, one of the principle reasons
for the creation of the United States was freedom of religion and
the separation of religion from the state. This is something the
British crown did not practice and which led to many acts against
minority religious groups by the English government. It was the
intent of the Founding Fathers that the United States government
be free from all ties to any specific religion.

An additional
argument in favor of this belief is the famous Treaty with Tripoli,
signed by the 5th Congress and President John Adams, that states
in Article 11 that “the government of the United States of America
is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” I know
this is a old and dusty paper, Hannity and Colmes, but it is one
that clearly states the position of this government with respect
to its supposed embrace of the Christian religion. In fact, many
of the Founding Fathers were not Christians, but Deists who believed
that God could only be understood through scientific insight and
not faith. Thomas Jefferson himself urged us to “question with boldness
even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more
approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
This wasn’t (nor is it today) a popular opinion of Christian individuals,
yet it was this man that wrote the very document that separated
the colonies from the British crown. James Madison understood that
“the general government is proscribed from the interfering, in any
manner whatsoever, in matters respecting religion.” In fact, Madison
believed that by government interfering in matters of religion and
binding religion to its laws would inevitably lead to a decrease
in the faith of individuals in religion. Madison writes that “religion
flourishes in greater purity without than with the aid of government.”

It was Deism,
not Christianity, that was the belief of a large part of the Founding
Fathers and it is the duty of government not to respect any sect
of religion, including Christianity. This is clearly not the case
when government courts find it justified to place religious icons
at the top of courthouse steps.

These are the
points that you, Sean Hannity, the self-proclaimed libertarian,
would not have wanted to hear come out on his show. In essence,
by making the problem at hand into a religious conflict rather than
a legal and political issue, your show could simply argue over the
validity of the atheist’s claims and label them inherently biased.
This is what Hannity and Colmes proceeded to do on the show, to
label any individual opposed to the union of the state and Christianity
as an infidel and atheist. In the blink of an eye and the execution
of a phone call, the discourse of the show was changed from a meaningful
and intellectual discussion to the religious ranting of a member
of the Christian right. Individuals should be more concerned about
the rights that are being stripped away from them by the religious
right and less passionate about the unconstitutional union of the
state with Christianity. This administration has been given the
unconstitutional privileges to suspend habeas corpus, intrude
into the private lives of law-abiding citizens without warrants,
and gather the national guardsmen without regard to the wishes of
the governors. If your show ever wants to have serious discussions
on the many controversial subjects of our time, you know where to
find us. Otherwise, your show can continue to perpetuate the dull
and empty talking points found in modern political circles. It now
seems clearer than ever that libertarianism and truth are out of
fashion, while meaningless rants are all the rage.

Sincerely,

Alexander Villacampa
Cofounder of the Libertarian Activist Network

December
1, 2006

Alexander
Villacampa [send him mail] is a sophomore in economics
at the University of Florida and summer fellow at the Mises Institute.

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