Pelosi Should Endorse Separation of Church and State

I sent the following letter to The Denver Post in reply to an article by Kathleen Parker (which is reproduced also at As I didn’t hear back from the Post, I’m publishing the letter here.

Pelosi Should Endorse Separation of Church and State

Kathleen Parker is right about one thing (“Pope Pelosi at the gate,” August 27): House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ought not invoke faith to answer criticisms from the religious right. Instead, she should endorse the separation of church and state and refuse to enact laws based on religious dogma.

Parker’s view that “human life begins at conception” implies support for Colorado’s Amendment 48; she’s saying that fertilized eggs should be granted full legal rights. But that measure, if fully implemented, would impose life in prison or the death penalty for women and their doctors for abortion, outlaw popular fertility treatments, ban the birth-control pill and other forms of birth control, ban promising medical research, and impose severe police controls over our sex lives. (Diana Hsieh and I critique the measure in “Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life” at

Notice Parker’s missing link: she jumps from the obvious truth that “human development begins at fertilization” to the patent absurdity that a fertilized egg is the moral equivalent of a born infant, with the same rights. That is a gap that only religious faith can fill. Democrats and Republicans alike should reject such faith-based politics.

Ari Armstrong