The Republican primaries have shown an appalling display of contempt for the separation of church and state.

The conservatives have fallen over each other, demonstrating their fervent preference for religious myth over democracy. I see religious conservatives as the American Taliban: ready and anxious to stuff their religion down our throats. Ready to cause murderous social strife in the cause of either their election or superstitious beliefs.

I am atheist. I am as repulsed by the idea that my tax dollars would send children to church schools as the bishops are repulsed by birth control.

The questions of existence and mortality are fundamental and must be faced by us all, religious or not, and settled to our emotional, intellectual and personal satisfactions. No one has the right to impose religious conclusions, beliefs and practices on others. No one has the right to claim special status.

The conservatives have so intimidated politicians and common citizens alike that no one defends the separation of church and state that has served us well for 236 years.

Our governor recently proposed that Maine allow tax dollars to pay church schools. Silence has been the response. Catholic bishops have been in high dudgeon about birth control services. They have demanded that their religious beliefs trump the law. They want my money to fund their schools and hospitals, while they reserve the power to meddle in the personal health issues of women.

They think octogenarian celibate men have the right to tell young women they can or cannot receive medical care. Religious conservatives, so smug and confident in their myths, never think their bald pronouncements offensive. They never doubt they have a monopoly on morality.

It is time for the legions of nonbelievers to say no to these sanctimonious bullies.

Phillip Davis

West Gardiner

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