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To the editor: This is in response to an April 17 letter to the editor by Vidda Crochetta entitled “Just fabricated claims,” where the assertation is made that I am writing from an “echo chamber of lies” in regard to extremely serious matters. These matters pertain to some of our foundational basic freedoms as citizens of the United States of America as found in the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights.

I shall now exposit the truth.

The 1st Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This means that freedom of religion, the freedom of religious practice (including preaching) and the freedom of speech are inviolable in the United States of America.

Freedom from religion means that religion is disallowed. It is the very definition of the words “freedom from religion.” Therefore, freedom from religion and the Freedom of Religion as described in the 1st Amendment are mutually exclusive; they cannot exist at the same time.

Mr. Crochetta does not acknowledge this as is apparent from a statement in his April 17 letter. He states, “We unaffiliated Americans would have better sense than to stake such a claim.” He also asserts that I “defamed” him by pointing out that he advocated for freedom from religion, which he did by advocating that freedom from religion be on equal footing with freedom of religion in his February 12 letter by stating, “… entanglements with religion make it necessary to change the First Amendment to add a clause clearly phrasing that freedom of religion is constitutionally protected 'on equal standing' with freedom from religion.”

It is simple reasoning which leads us to realize that one cannot allow and disallow something at the same time. That which is not allowed typically has more weight in a given situation than that which is allowed. Freedom from religion would disallow freedom of religion.

For example, if one is permitted ice cream, but is not permitted ice cream, then one does not have ice cream. The point is easily grasped.

Mr. Crochetta did advocate for freedom from religion in his February 12 letter.

Therefore Mr. Crochetta is expressing that he wants the situation to be that people are permitted the right to exercise religion but are also denied the right to exercise religion. Therefore, as with the ice cream, with those rules in place, one does not exercise religion.

I am willing to hypothesize that Mr. Crochetta did not understand the implications of what he was advocating for. I hope he did not, for if he did and asserted that he wanted both freedom of and freedom for religion, and it was known by him that the two are mutually exclusive and cannot coexist, then he is engaging in a willful attempt at manipulation. I will err on the side of graciousness and hope that it was a simple cognitive error which is common to all humans, from time to time.

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To reiterate, freedom of religion and freedom from religion cannot exist at the same time.

In the April 17 letter, Mr. Crochetta also asserted that, “Daneau's colonial views are misleading, claiming freedom of religion was enacted because, 'interference from the Church of England's government had the power to enforce doctrine.' Yet the colonies already won the war of independence eight years before the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, making the Church of England irrelevant.”

First, I must state that this was a misquote of my words (in a March 26 letter) and this misquote is what is misleading, not my words. What I wrote was "The establishment clause was in regard to Christianity, and it was in regard to interference in the Church of England from its government which had the power to enforce doctrine."

However, in that matter, the Church of England was not irrelevant. The people of the United States had, at the time, settled from England and had recently won a war of rebellion against England. Therefore, having lived in England, or having had ancestors who had, they were well aware of the implications of having the potential establishment of a church of state rather than the establishment of the separation of church and state in the United States of America.

It was that which prompted the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment. The disagreements between different Christian groups among the colonials was a relevant concern, but reducing religious disagreements was not the cause nor goal of the amendment. The amendment would not and did not have the effect of settling doctrinal disagreements.

Empowering freedom was the cause and the goal.

The remainder of Mr. Crochetta’s letter was something of a tirade against Trumpism. He appears to me to be attempting to align me with Trump, or Trump with me.

I am a Christian. Politically, if anything, I am an American and remain party unaffiliated, or as I like to put it, a little left to the right of center.

In these troubled times where many Americans are just so upset, I wish Mr. Crochetta all the best.

Kind Regards,

Scott Daneau

Newfane, April 25