Thursday, December 04, 2003

Is our freedom of religioun threatened? 

It is said that one of the main motivators of the pilgrims was to venture to the ‘new world’ to find a refuge from religious persecution in England/Europe. A hell of an idea, and a great premise to found a new community on. Supposedly, ours is still the most free country when it comes to providing the freedom to worship the greater power of your choice. However, I am beginning to doubt that this is true. I am starting to feel as though we are impinging on these rights, and that our ability to worship how we choose is slowly being stripped away. How can I say this? I have a couple of reasons.

Let’s look at the drama surrounding the use of the phrase “under God”. This phrase is in the Pledge of Allegiance, on our currency and in the Constitution. Although I don’t really agree with the venue chosen, the atheist man in California who went to court over the use of this phrase in public schools had a point. His ‘religion’, is atheism. While this is not a church, and atheists don’t convene to discuss how there is no god, it is a belief structure. Is this not covered under the 1st Amendment? Why are atheists denied the same rights that a practicing Christian has? That is contrary to the 1st Amendment, and it contradicts the “freedom of religion” message many devout Christians claim to espouse.

One of Alabama’s ex-Chief Justice’s was recently removed from his position as the result of his placing a monument for the 10 Commandments in the State Judicial building. Actually, let me clarify-he was stripped of his position-not for displaying this 2.6 ton granite monument, but because he ignored the ruling of a higher court that deemed it an illegal display and left it where it was. His claim was that this country was founded on Christian beliefs and therefore it should be allowed. However, while I do think the Commandments have a good message in them, they are a Christian based set of beliefs. Let me again call attention to atheists, polytheists, or many eastern religions. This man claimed his rights were being squelched, yet he failed to consider not only the Constitution (separation of Church and State), but the rights of people who DO NOT share his views.

Now let’s toss the idea of gay marriage around. First of all, I applaud the State of Massachusetts for ruling that gay marriage is not illegal. Why is this idea opposed by so many? What group is most vocal in condemning this practice? People who believe in the Bible, and the devoutly religious or various faiths. Let me pose this question-when it is said that these people are destroying the sanctity of marriage, what is this based on? Oh yeah-God saying that homosexuality is wrong. Well, what if you have a different faith? Is this not another instance of forcing a person of a different religion to accept what you believe to be true? I won’t get into this topic too deeply, that’s another blog. But I am not sure I’ve heard any mention as to this aspect. If I were an atheist, I would care less that YOUR god in YOUR book doesn’t agree with my lifestyle. After all, western religions and beliefs are looked upon with scorn by many other religions. Why is this different?

These are just a couple of examples of what I see as the squelching of religious rights in this country. Too many people are more than willing to mount their soapbox in defense of THEIR way of life; to defile non-believers or believers of another creed as un-American and evil. I think this is a travesty. I am glad many people are so staunchly supportive of their faith. But they need to practice the tolerance they demand for themselves. I am not sure how or if we can convince these people that they are acting in a way they would deem unacceptable if it were enacted upon them. They need to remember, and practice the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com