VOA Special Report

Centrality of Religion

For more than half a century, efforts to uphold the constitution’s separation of church and state has been viewed by some as an attack on Christian values, from the banning of school-sponsored prayer in the 1960s to more recent efforts to curb discrimination based on religious principles. In the overwhelmingly Christian county of Jo Daviess, Illinois, the feeling of a religion under siege continues.


I come to church at least once a week. My husband and I, we’ve raised our children in this church.

Most people in this country do believe in a god and granted there are a few that don’t but they shouldn’t be impressing their views on everybody else and telling everybody else they’re wrong or ‘That’s not the way to live. This is the way to live’ No.

You’re not allowed to say things like Merry Christmas anymore because you’re pushing your values, you’re pushing – no I’m not. I’m just wishing you something that’s warm and from my heart.

We’ve prayed a lot for religious freedom. In the last eight years, we’ve felt that religion was being attacked in America. For instance with the new health care laws, forcing religions to do things and pay for things that they don’t believe in and they’re counter to their central beliefs. No. That’s not right. That’s not correct. You shouldn’t be infringing on the beliefs of any religion.

America was founded on the Judeo-Christian principles and values and we can’t lose those. It seems that when you see America straying away from religion and freedom that our ancestors fought for and came here for, you can just see things don’t go right in the country. It doesn’t feel right in the country.

—Vickie Middendorf, Nurse

Menominee, Illinois