Regarding Greg Horton's "Holy Okies" (News, Jan. 27, 2010, Gazette), it is interesting that some of the most religious states also have some of the most repressive and cruel laws.
Case in point: All of the 10 most religious states have the death penalty, and the eleventh most religious, Texas, has the distinction of being the execution capital of our nation. In 2000, Texas executed 40 people, and this year four people have already been put to death, the latest was March 11, 2010.
On the subject of religion, Theologian Paul Tillich said Jesus came not to create a new religion, but to end religion and to free us from religion. Tillich stated that Jesus brought a "new reality, a new being and a new power of transforming life," and further that the new being resides in us.
No institution can give us this new being. We are born with it. It is the breath we breathe, the spirit that gives us life.
Hopefully, as we become conscious of the new being in ourselves, we will replace our religiosity and "churchianity" with mercy and longsuffering, and forgiveness and gratitude and love.
"Lela Knox Shanks