An Oct. 30 letter in The Post and Courier mentions the writer’s delight in seeing a bumper sticker that reads “God Bless the World.”

While I don’t believe in any gods, I appreciate the sentiment and prefer it to the narrow “God Bless America.” The writer also quotes a dear friend who says his church is the world, his brothers and sisters are members and to do good is his religion.

I expect her friend admires, as do I, our country’s most underrated founder — Thomas Paine. His pamphlet “Common Sense” inspired America to declare independence from Great Britain. My favorite Paine quote hangs on my living room wall: “My country is the world and my religion is to do good.”

Paine, unfortunately, was later vilified because of his book “Age of Reason,” in which he advocates for reason in place of revelation and rejects biblical miracles. He said: “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.

Herb Silverman

George Street