Which is better - religion in politics, or politics in church?

In his March 24 Opinion piece, "Stop penalizing religious politics," Patrick J. Buchanan writes: "Separation of church and state means churches do not dictate state policy and the state does not dictate church teaching." I agree completely, and would be thrilled if Americans would wake up and recognize how dangerous it is to violate this dictate.

In the past five years, we have seen a particular faction of the Christian church threaten, coerce, and manipulate the state to comply with a narrow religious perspective not shared by the majority of Americans.

As a minister, my congregation will not allow me to spout political rhetoric from the pulpit because it is against the law (a detail overlooked by many conservative preachers). I would be happy to talk about Jesus' concern for peace over war, helping the poor rather than the rich, and healing the sick and feeding the hungry rather than, say, cutting Medicaid and eliminating free breakfast and Head Start programs for children.

Let's get religion out of politics and put politics into religion. Maybe then the peace-seeking, humanitarian-advocating, social justice voices of Christianity will be heard once again, as they were in Martin Luther King's time.
Rev. Jeanne Hanson
Barrington, Ill.

Not everyone believes that "religious leaders ... like the prophets of old, have been ordained by God to hold rulers to account." It is my belief that religious ideology is a far greater power than taxation once it becomes the law of the land, and it's potentially more destructive. The former Taliban regime in Afghanistan is a good example of this.
Daniel Sigg
Van Nuys, Calif.

Mr. Buchanan wonderfully demonstrates how all major political parties have abused the IRS tax code that prohibits tax-exempt churches from partaking in partisan politics. However, he then goes off the propagandist deep end and tries to paint the picture that this statute is "muzzling our religious leaders."

The First Amendment guarantees free speech, and there's no court in the land that would allow anybody to "muzzle" any religious leader. If any tax-exempt organization (religious or otherwise) would like to "unmuzzle" its leaders, all it needs to do is relinquish its 401c(3) status and pay taxes, just like the Democratic and Republican parties - and all Americans - do.
Ried Crowe
Powder Springs, Ga.

Diversity important, but at what cost?

The excellent March 25 article, "In the Golden State, leaden school scores," on the devastating impact of mass immigration on California's schools, should be read by all educators and politicians across the nation.

Unfortunately, most American leaders care more about political correctness and their self-interests than the well-being of American children by refusing to support drastic immigration reductions.
Yeh Ling-Ling
Oakland, Calif.
Executive Director, Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America

We are choking in diversity. Our government keeps immigrants from learning English by printing signs and other materials in diverse languages. When these immigrants become US citizens, the citizenship ceremony is soetimes conducted in their native language! Let's point the finger at the folks in Washington who are systematically destroying American society.

By the way, I'm Hispanic. I came to the US as a legal immigrant, learned English, assimilated into American society, and now I'm a naturalized US citizen.
Haydee Pavia
Laguna Woods, Calif.

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