The 1st Amendment
Some of you may be wondering why there's a picture of an intolerant woman on this page, allow us to clarify. Michelle Bachman is part of the problem with religious freedom in America because she's focusing solely on her beliefs, which may coincide with yours or mine. The funny thing is, whenever people advocate prayer in schools, they're not thinking about other religions, just their own. If high schools across the US allowed prayer in the classroom, would Muslim students be allowed to pray three times during the day that they would need to while attending class? Would a Jewish student be able to wear their Yamika? Would a Hindi student be allowed to participate in their religious rituals? Or would only Christian and Catholic practices be allowed? That's the issue folks: religious equality means all religions, or none, not one over the other. You are entitled to your beliefs, but you are not allowed to make decisions for others based on your beliefs. Once we recognize that, a whole lot of intolerance will be swept away, and other social issues won't be as much of a problem. For instance, the primary concern with Gay Marriage is family values, and a few verses in the Bible that admonish homosexuality.
I think the picture above sums it up quite nicely: religion and politics should never mix. To do so invites intolerance, inequality, and a severance of unity that any country desperately needs among its people. This nation was not founded on Christian values, in fact...
- The New England colonists were largely Puritans, who led very strict lives.
- The Middle colonists were a mixture of religions, including Quakers (led by William Penn), Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, and others.
- The Southern colonists had a mixture of religions as well, including Baptists and Anglicans
It was until the 18th Century, the Great Awakening swept the colonies. This was a movement to refocus peoples thoughts and minds on the church and religion. Famous preachers like George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards brought many people into church. So, it's a result of this Great Awakening that there is a misconception of religious principles in this country. But even then there was not a singular religion that all people believed in.
From our foundation, we have had a diverse belief and culture, why on Earth would we want to strive so hard to end that? From all of that diversity came much of our economic, educational, and military might that we all enjoy to this very day. If we didn't have diversity, we wouldn't have microwaves, nuclear energy, combustible engines, vaccines, an understanding of radiation, and so much more. The world and America as we know it wouldn't exist if it weren't for diverse minds with differing beliefs, values, and culture.
One final example of how people in power want to politicize religion, and warp the wording of the Constitution. Nobody gets to decide what religion everyone follows, that's the whole point of freedom of religion. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and to their lack in belief, that doesn't give anyone the right to encroach upon others, nor, deny them the ability to do so. Another fantastic example of misinterpreting the Constitution is the Hobby Lobby ruling. Also mentioned in that link is how it can backfire, which was discussed briefly early on this page. The problem is our own inherent selfishness and unwillingness to change, or accept differences among others. We believe that everyone has to be exactly the same way we are, but the truth is, if we were, nothing great or useful would ever be accomplished. If you don't believe that read the Giver, or 1984, or Farenheit 451, or a plethora of other books, articles, and blogs that discuss that very thing. We need diversity, we need to disagree, otherwise, we can never progress, because there will be only one narrow way to do something.
Join the Initiative
Your having come here is a testament to your desire to make a difference in the world, and to be a true patriot. Patriotism is not following your government blindly, it's faith in your country, its ideals, and what it stands for. It's about the man or woman next to you working hard, and doing the same things you do to keep this country afloat. Freedom of Religion is not limited to perceived majority, it's for all persons regardless of beliefs. If we don't protect this freedom for all individuals then what is it we as a nation stand for? We cannot and will not allow this to continue! We can make a difference and I urge you to spread the message: through unity we can make a difference!