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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-09-26 - 11:15 p.m.

Political Freedom

I opened my e-mail this morning to find this quote from Samuel J. Ervin. I think it is especially relevant as we find our country embroiled in a shadow debate with religious undertones seeking to dictate the country's viewpoint on God, who can marry, gay rights, woman's right to choose, as well as education for our children. On the other side of the world the Israelis and Palestinians continue their struggle, while Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds fight for their roles in the Iraqi government.

On September 27, 1896, Samuel J. Ervin was born in Morgantown, North Carolina. The son of a lawyer, Ervin graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1917 and earned a law degree from Harvard University in 1922. After many years as a practicing lawyer and judge, he was elected to the U. S. Senate in 1954, where he developed a reputation for his down-home, folksy style. In the early 1970s, he became a folk hero to millions when he served as the chairman of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, charged by Congress to investigate the Watergate Scandal. A fierce defender of the Constitution, one of his most memorable quotes was a chiastic observation that has relevance today:

"Political freedom cannot exist in any land where religion controls the state, and religious freedom cannot exist in any land where the state controls religion."

(Thanks, Hal)

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