TONY HAYS, San Clemente
Thomas McCorkell’s Letter to the Editor in the July 22 edition of the San Clemente Times is correct—the United States was founded on Christian principles. And one of those principles must have been that owning slaves was OK. But the cores of both moral and religious belief change slowly over time.
The belief that ownership of slaves was morally wrong took almost 100 years to be codified into federal law. The percentage of Americans who identify as Christian is also slowly changing. Surveys by the Pew Research Center indicate that in 1990, this value was 85%; in 2001, 81.6%; in 2012, 78%; in 2014, 70.6%; 2015, 75%; and 2020, 65%.
A trendline (a second-order polynomial for the technically obsessed) based on these percentages suggests that by 2030, it will be about 50%.
Basing law on the moral beliefs of any one group of people is not a good idea, especially if that group does not represent a significant majority of the population. Moral and legal standards should be based on free and robust discussion with our friends and between our representatives at every level of government.
We are fortunate to live in a country where freedom of speech is enshrined in law, and this freedom enables discussion on every possible topic. Americans must develop their own set of moral and legal standards, but they should not be based on any religion.