In his letter to the editor ("Barr speech correct: Faith is vital," Oct. 27), Allan Bell, in promoting religion as the basis for a moral America and in gushing about U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr as a good messenger, is treading on dangerous ground, on both counts.

Firstly, and most importantly, Bell’s definition of secularism is false and therefore misleading. Secularism is not per se a criticism of religion. Its meaning is quite clear and simple: religion is to be kept completely out of government. This was a key tenet not only of our Constitution’s founding fathers but in the thinking of those courageous souls who immigrated to America to escape religion’s domination of their lives in England.

Bell committed a cardinal sin common to many religious zealots in their thought process; namely, they formulate their moral positions before thinking and studying sufficiently to justify what they present. They first decide what is morally right based solely on what their Bible tells them, then go out looking for behavioral examples to try to justify their point.

People who are convinced beyond any doubt that if everyone would just adhere to all the teachings of their faith we would be a perfect society too often then wrongly jump to the conclusion that if a problem exists, it has to be the result of not following their religion’s tenets.

In spite of their good intentions, they make the fatal mistake of seeing sin or defining sin where in fact it doesn’t even exist.

In closing, Bell chose the wrong man in the person of Barr as a model of behavior. He has been roundly and rightly criticized for his gross dereliction of duty, abuse of power and obstruction of legal congressional oversight functions.

Rudy Reed, Decatur

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