Dear Mr. President,

I am sure you get a lot of advice, and some of it is bound to be good. I am also fairly confident you are smart enough to recognize said advice when you see it. In regard to your economic, domestic, and foreign policies, while I do value my voice in such matters, I will not presume so much about my own knowledge on these subjects as to lend you yet more advice. Instead, I will share a few hopes and fears.

In your inaugural address, you made mention of "non-believers," including them equally in your hope for a better America. You also caught some flack for that, though why anyone would want to be intolerant of tolerance is beyond me. In any case, there are many of us whose eyes lit up and whose hearts filled with hope at the simple inclusion of that segment of our society that does not believe in a higher power, a segment that has for too long felt that our nation has been steered by an inherently dogmatic hand. We have watched dogma color the tone of our wars, the domestic policies that affect our love lives, and even the way our taxes are handled.

I am expressing this sentiment not out of any hope for the exclusion of faith within the ranks of our public servants. Faith and fairness can coexist even in that context, I believe. You are a perfect example of that. I merely wish for one thing to be true about your time in office: that hope drives your hand, and not religious belief. I hope that you recognize the dogmatic and unfair nature of our laws governing same-sex marriage and the solely religious nature of this policy. I hope you remember the fear that many of our founding fathers had of religion affecting the government too much. I hope understand how much of the popular support for the war in Iraq was and is faith-driven. I hope that your faith can keep you strong enough to understand that not everyone uses that kind of faith for their strength, and that the strongest possible America will accept all of these strengths.

Even the term "non-believers" is a bit of a non-sequitur, I feel. Belief doesn't have to involve a "higher" power. We can believe in the vast breadth of human experience and the mysteries science holds. We can believe in the universe and rest assured that it's answers are out there. The same God that the dogmatist prays to and the impious pay lip-service to is the same one that is printed on our money, money created by a private corporation and conveniently used to fund our wars... at interest. Perhaps dogma can help people overlook certain fundamental problems with their society even as they use their faith in a similar way to help them overcome problems in their lives. That is the danger of belief, and while I feel that your beliefs are of a personal, spiritual nature, when applied to governmental policies, they are dangerous.

What I am saying, in summation, is that I hope that you keep hoping and dreaming, and chasing those hopes and dreams all the while remembering that our nation truly needs to be supported by as many ideals and strengths as possible, but the fundamental nature of our government should not be colored by any one of these. Keep hope alive, Mr. President, because even us non-believers believe in you.

A Believer