Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Freedom of Religion

I was reading the newsstory in the New York Time about the high school in Georgia which introduced Chrisitan messages in the football games after 9/11. Recently the school district had to abandon that practice when threatened with a lawsuit about the separation of church and state, in this case, school sponsored activities which included football games.

Well, for one those kids misunderstood 9/11. It wasn't about religion. It was about the global economic power of some countries exemplified by the World Trade Center. Remember people from about 100 nations died, not just Americans. While espousing your religion for 9/11 is ok, it's incorrect and inaccurate to phrase the attack in terms of religion.

But that's a different issue. I want to talk about this example of where Christians view their faith and religion as the only religion in this country and to them the freedom of religion as embodied in the Constitution isn't about true freedom of religion but the Christian interpretation and values they think it represents.

And they couldn't be further from the truth. This country wasn't founded on Christian values but the freedom of religion to practice their faith not allowed in Europe. The Christian idea came later, but even then the founders of this country knew, even those they were Christians, that freedom of religion was fundamental. Any religion or faith.

The story made me wonder if someone held of a sign at the football game that read, "Freedom of Religion, Be a Taoist" would they let me stay and display the sign? Or Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Paganism, or whatever? Would they say that's my right and freedom of religion?

After all God is God, each reilgion defines it differently but it's still God. And if we question the existence of a God or more so, deny the existence of God, is that not our freedom too? Isn't that in the Constituion?

When these people focus on their Christianity, I think they have misplaced their sense of America and American values about all of us. It's not about just being Christian, but the freedom to choose and express our religion, whatever that is. That's what this country is about.

And Christians, of all faiths, should honor that, the right to choose and the acceptance of that choice. Or do they say non-Christians are real and don't believe in God? That's not what God and especially Jesus preached. That's not what's in the Bible, ot hate everyone you disagree with? That's not being Christian, but quite the opposite.

They need to relearn history, civics and Christian values, correct this time.

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