Peter Nardini responded beautifully in "Nurture the Seeds" [v27, i33] to Manuel Ybarra's "Letter to America" [v27, i32]. Ybarra’s point seems to be that without belief in a Christian God, people are “morally corrupt,” hate more than love, do “abominable things,” and are headed to Hell. Nardini correctly points out that Ybarra’s message is one of religious exclusivity that prevents him from seeing how loving people with diverse religious views can be. I would add that diverse religious views include atheism, agnosticism and non-deity-based spirituality, none of which is inconsistent with possessing a moral compass, capacity to love fellow human beings and other creatures, or doing good in the world.
While I also respect Ybarra’s faith, he has no more proof of the existence of God than I do. Because I have no proof one way or the other, nor do I expect such proof to be forthcoming, I don't consider the question of God's existence important to me. So I guess that makes me agnostic. I prefer to focus on understanding nature and living in harmony with nature, which includes all human beings. I know many people whose understanding of nature is similar to mine, only they reach that understanding through both science and their belief in God and their particular religions.
People do wonderful things in the name of religion. People also fight wars over religious differences, claiming that their God is superior to their enemy's God. I’ve lived long enough to learn many times over that a person’s religion, belief in God, or lack of such religion or belief is not a reliable predictor of how good, loving or moral that person is or may become.
The Mayflower pilgrims may have come to America to advance Christianity, as Ybarra claims. However, this country, as encapsulated in the First Amendment, was founded on principles of religious tolerance. It should stay that way.