Although I am a very strong supporter of same-sex marriage, I want to object to Dan Rodricks' characterization of the separation of church and state in Thursday's column ("Wait just a blessed minute, Mr. Miller," Jan. 27).
Mr. Rodricks argues that Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller's support for a traditional definition of marriage on the grounds that it is "blessed by God" is a violation of "the separation." But this confuses the establishment of religion, which the Constitution prohibits, with the use of religion in political speech, which the Constitution does not prohibit.
In fact, the Constitution insists on promoting the "free exercise" of religion, and this seems to be exactly what Mr. Miller is doing. No citizen or legislator should have to check her or his religious convictions at the door before entering into the world of political debate. In fact, if one is to be religious with all of one's "heart, soul, mind and strength," then one's religious convictions should inform every opinion one has and every decision one makes.
That is ultimately why I support same-sex marriage. I think God finds goodness and holiness in these unions, and I want to affirm this conviction in public and political debates. Happily, the Constitution of our country encourages me to do so.
Joe Pettit, Baltimore
The writer is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Morgan State University.