I once accepted that our founding principle, the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, is secular, or nonreligious. However, the preamble is a civic practice that is neutral respecting civil religious beliefs. Neither the preamble nor this country is secular.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, in “Exemplifying Christianity in death and life” (column, March 2), would impose Christian morality on America’s civic morality. She vainly celebrates the 21 murdered Egyptians as martyrs for Christianity, and then disparages U.S. civic order as “secular.” Quoting Lopez, “The Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us (which) flies in the face of a secular society.” She strangely castigates three trivial American events that were contemporary to the murders.

A people, in civic morality, lament uncivil behavior, “provide for the common defense” and influence civically immoral people to reform, but do not submit to religious morality.

Quoting etymonline.com, secularism is the “doctrine that morality should be based on the well-being of man in the present life, without regard to religious belief or a hereafter.” Secular is “living in the world, not belonging to a religious order.”

The preamble offers civic morality that is neutral to civil religious beliefs, accommodating believers and nonbelievers equally. The preamble is falsely labeled “secular.”

My neighbor said, “I don’t use the word ‘secular,’ but ‘religion’ means connected.” It follows that “secular” means disconnected.

Born in Knoxville, I can neither disconnect from the preamble nor from civic morality. Believers who “dust” people according to the Bible civically disconnect themselves. It’s wrong to divide citizens based on religion. A people must mutually provide civic morality in order to secure private pursuits of happiness, whether religious beliefs are needed for happiness or not.

A people of the United States, unfortunately without celebration, continually uses the ethics of physics instead of the ethics of the supernatural and march toward domestic peace and civic justice. For example, in the Civil War, family kin warred over moralities divided on the same Bible, but the ethics of physics prevailed: It is civically immoral for one person to take the benefits of another person’s work.

A people does not submit to the label “secular.” A people is civic, nonbelievers and believers connected.

Phil Beaver

retired chemical engineer

Baton Rouge