Please understand this: The United States of America is not a Christian nation. It was never intended to be a Christian nation. By foundational direction of the founders of the Constitution in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” and furthermore: “Or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Regardless of the faith of the founders, this amendment does not highlight the principles of the Christian faith over other faiths or beliefs. Indeed, it is meant to protect all religions and faiths equally. Should you proclaim no faith or belief in any religion or doctrine, you have the right to the freedom of your own thought and choice. Agree or disagree, but that is the truth of it.

As to voting rights, let’s review Amendment 15, Section 1 of the Constitution: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.” Again in Amendment 19, the terms of this right are confirmed and reinforced: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

In the current state of our politics, I think it important to point out the term abridge. It has the meaning “to reduce or diminish.” This is prohibited. It is not vague or open to interpretation. Legislatures of states that make laws reducing or diminishing the rights of its citizens to vote are disregarding the language of Amendments 15 and 19, making them unconstitutional. I consider this argument valid and incontestable.

Personally, I believe gerrymandering should be considered to be in violation of the language of the Constitution. Its definition and intent are immediately suspect. Other words for gerrymander include contrive, manipulate, distort, machinate and influence. I believe it is wrong and should be discontinued. I support creating voting districts by some set geographic grid. Populations move, grow and change over time. So be it. Let the chips fall where they may. But manipulating districts to suit the party in power with the intent of reducing or diminishing citizens not of their party’s right to vote or voice goes against the Constitution’s mandate.

The point of this letter is to present a voice that opposes the momentum of legislating along religious or political party lines, views that are not reflected in the larger citizenry of the nation. Whatever I believe personally, this I believe publicly. We are still a democratic republic. Let us behave accordingly.
Tim Berger
Rio Rancho