Freedom of Religion

We were all taught in school that our forefathers left England to escape religious dictatorships. Okay, there was a lot more to it then that, but it was a big enough deal that they made sure it got honorable mention in our rulebook. They clearly made the point that we were to have freedom of religion here in America. They also used the word "God" in some of their formal paperwork and even on our money. I don't want to argue politics here, but rather semantics. They didn't say "freedom of Christianity," they said "freedom of religion." The boys who wrote up all of our formal paperwork were wordsmiths and they debated long and hard to find the perfect set of words to govern ourselves by. It wasn't decided that we had the freedom to choose whichever form of Christianity that we liked, but whichever form of religion. Religion is in and of itself a much broader concept then Christianity. "God" can mean a lot more then just the Christian definition too.

No, I don't agree with all the bickering and arguing over whether or not there should be prayers in school or if the Pledge of Allegiance is constitutional. You can't stop someone from praying whenever or wherever they choose. Nor can you force a prayer out of someone either. It's a dumb thing to argue about and not worth being offended over either way. I think it's important to teach out children what our country's Pledge of Allegiance is, but I don't know that it's right to force anyone to state a pledge, especially children. Seems a bit dictator like and kind of like brainwashing. Teach them what it means. Teach them what prayer means. Teach them what making a pledge of any kind means whether it's a pledge of one's allegiance to their country's flag, a pledge of fidelity to a spouse, or a pledge of loyalty to a boss. But also teach them that in this country we have the freedom to make pledges or not. Teach them that in this country we have the freedom to pray to whoever or whatever we like and the freedom not to pray. Teach them just how important that freedom is.

I'm saddened when I hear of Pagan's being persecuted for their spiritual beliefs in this country. Did the Sunday school teachers forget to mention that using the colors green and red for Christmas is Pagan? Did they mention that Christmas lights, yule logs, and wreaths are all Pagan? Did they mention that almost every single Christian holiday is celebrated ironically on top of a Pagan festival? Why do you think we have bunnies, baby chicks, and pretty flowers as part of our Easter celebration? Because it coincides with the Pagan's celebrations of Spring's renewal. From what I can see, Pagans aren't all evil ugly witches anymore than all Christians are white supremacists.

I don't have a deep knowledge of all of the different religions of the world, but I can tell you that it doesn't take much research to see that they're all very much the same. Get past which church uses which secret handshake and which rule book you should follow, and you find that they're all teaching us to respect each other, to love each other, to conduct yourself with honor, and to be good to the planet and animals that we're blessed with. The rest is all dogma and debatable. Nobody has any real concrete proof that their particular form of God is the only one. Who's to say that God or Jesus isn't wise enough to visit more than once using different names and different forms? Wouldn't it make sense given the size of the planet that the rest of the world would need to be given a fair chance at knowing about God too? Is Buddha so very different from Jesus? Their teachings are incredibly similar. Why limit God to a concept that only fits what your particular culture or region of the world knows about?

Another thing that always puzzled me is why prophets and seers are allowed to channel holy books and tell of the Messiah's coming, but then we're told by the churches that being psychic is demonic? It seems a bit contradictory to me. Every psychic I've ever met lost power over their visions if they weren't acting in the highest good. Most of the psychics I've met believe very deeply in a form of God or some sort of a higher magical loving guidance over us. They're visions into the other side created that belief. There's nothing quite like chatting with the All-Mighty to make a believer out of you. Isn't prayer in and of itself a form of telepathic psychic connection with the other side?

It just seems to me that if we quit arguing over what words, labels, and names we give these concepts and quit arguing over methods of prayer and such that we'd see that we're all so much more alike then we are different. I've known three different Catholic men who fell in love with the Buddhist faith because it so beautifully highlights the teachings of Christ. I really believe that is what we're meant to do. All of the holy books tell us to love one another. You can't truly love someone if you don't take the time to really get to know them and what they stand for. Shouldn't we learn about each other from a place of love rather than from a place of judgement? Nobody can prove that anyone else's religion is wrong and nobody can prove that theirs is right. Too many translators over the course of history to be able to be 100% sure about anything any more. We can't really assume that the others are completely wrong and we can't assume that our own religion is completely right. Religion and God is so much more than we can fully understand at this time.

Copyright 2004, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge

About The Author

Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow's Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. She became a writer in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, soulmates, and parenting. Her books and articles have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness. After years of high heels and business clothes, she is currently enjoying working from home in her pajamas. To read more of her articles, sign up to receive her free weekly newsletter, and get free previews of her books go to http://www.TomorrowsEdge.net.

[email protected]

In The News:

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Survey: Jews and Atheists Have More Religious Knowledge Than Christians  PatheosWhen it comes to basic knowledge about what different religions teach, Jews and atheists know more than every kind of Christian. That's the bottom line in a new ...
How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World  Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life ProjectOver the decade from 2007 to 2017, government restrictions on religion - laws, policies and actions by state officials that restrict religious beliefs and practices ...
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Kyrgyzstan: A Taste of Secularism in Religious Schools  Institute for War and Peace ReportingKyrgystan is planning to introduce laws regulating studies at the country's religious schools, or madrassahs, as part of ongoing efforts to increase state control ...
US freedom of religion card is a bullying tactic  Global TimesSuccessful experiences that suit countries and societies should be cherished. Using religion as a political tool to slander another country is ideological bullying ...
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I'm the gay grandson of a persecuted Jew; freedom of religion is not freedom to harm  The AgeAs the government moves to a Religious Discrimination Bill, we need a level-headed debate, writes the head of Australia's largest LGBTQI health organisation.
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5 faith facts about the moon landing: Space Communion and a prayer league of its own  Religion News Service(RNS) — Where humans go, faith seems to follow. It's no less true of NASA's first manned mission to land on the moon, when astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin ...
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India rejects critical US religious freedom report  Al Jazeera EnglishState Department report says senior BJP officials made 'inflammatory speeches' against religious minorities last year.
Abortion. Gun rights. Religion. If we can't talk to each other, 'democracy doesn't happen'  WCPO CincinnatiSociety seems more polarized than ever. What does this mean for people though?
We don’t teach our culture, how will people know that religion and liberalism can co-exist: Author Anish  The Financial ExpressIn many ways, both cannot lay claim to absolute truth. Mythology just takes fantasy a little further, that's all.
Religion, meet technology | ASU Now: Access, Excellence, Impact  Arizona State UniversityThis summer, Arizona State University religious studies PhD candidate Jamie Edmonds decided to incorporate technology into the final projects of his religion ...
Remarks by President Trump in Meeting with Survivors of Religious Persecution  Whitehouse.govOval Office. 4:22 P.M. EDT. THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. We'll be leaving for North Carolina in a short while. I think some of you will be outside.
AZ Atheist Group Plans Legal Fight Over Tax-Free Housing for Religious Leaders  PatheosThe leader of a Humanist group wants the same tax code perk offered to pastors.
Jakoa to examine claims Orang Asli MyKad modified to show religion as Islam  MalaysiakiniThe Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) says it is taking a serious view of reports that Orang Asli in Kg Sg Papan, Gerik had their MyKad modified to ...
Pete Buttigieg's Memorable Debate Lines About Religion Still Missed the Mark  PatheosOne of the high points of tonight's Democratic primary debate for me was what Mayor Pete Buttigieg said about religion. But the more I thought about it, the more ...
Belarus' Deputy FM takes part in US conference on religious freedom  BelsatOn July 16-18, Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleh Krauchanka visited Washington, DC.
A closer look at changing restrictions on religion  Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life ProjectPew Research Center has analyzed restrictions on religion around the world for 10 years, finding that global restrictions have risen. What is happening in some ...
Asia Got Religion  The GlobalistReligion is proving an increasingly divisive factor in the politics of Asian nations.
What Religion is BTS? - BTS Members Religion and Faith  Seventeen.comIt's not hard to tell BTS is super dedicated to their loyal fan base, the ARMY. Whether it's putting out exclusive *content* for them via a mobile video game or ...
A matter of faith: Democrats embrace religion in campaign  The Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — When 10 Democratic presidential candidates were pressed on immigration policy during their recent debate, Pete Buttigieg took his ...
Montenegro: positive changes to religious property rights but more clarity needed  Council of EuropeThe Venice Commission in its opinion published today welcomes “genuine efforts” of the Montenegrin authorities to replace the 1977 Law on legal position of ...
Khush Chopra: Race and religion are divisive fault lines in Singapore courtesy of the PAP government  The Online Citizenby Khush Chopra. While I cannot agree more with the Prime Minister who said that Singapore must treasure its racial and religious harmony in a Facebook post ...
What Is Chris Pratt's Religion? The Actor's Church Sparks Criticism  DistractifyChris Pratt is one of Hollywood's biggest stars, but fame and fortune aren't what's important to the Marvel movie star. The actor is passionate about his Christian ...
Religion vs law: Big religious fight erupts over Ranchi court's order to distribute copies of Quran  India TodayA 19-year-old girl has been asked by a Ranchi court to distribute five copies of Quran as a punishment for posting a communal post on social media. Judicial ...
Canada Stifles Religious Freedom  National ReviewThe Canadian Charter explicitly guarantees “freedom of religion and conscience.” Guarantee, shmarantee. Canadian law is fast becoming intolerant to religious ...
In remote Appalachia, liberal Christians gather at Wild Goose to pray — and plan  Religion News ServiceHOT SPRINGS, N.C. (RNS) — For years, liberals — even liberal people of faith — have been wary of fusions of faith and politics, careful not to pierce the ...
New poll shows growing view that clergy are irrelevant  Religion News Service(RNS) — In her 2004 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel “Gilead,” Marilynne Robinson sketches a portrait of the Rev. John Ames, a small- town pastor in 1950s Iowa ...
Treasure Singapore's racial and religious harmony: PM Lee Hsien Loong, Heng Swee Keat  The Straits TimesSINGAPORE - Singapore must treasure the racial and religious harmony that it enjoys, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, citing how race and religion have ...
Religious liberals want to change what it means to be a Christian voter  PBS NewsHourDES MOINES, Iowa — The meeting began with a prayer. Heads bowed and eyes closed. Then the members of “We Are Church Confessing,” a group of liberal ...
US to press religious freedom in North Korea: Pence  CNAWASHINGTON: Vice President Mike Pence vowed on Thursday (Jul 18) to press North Korea to respect freedom of religion, despite the narrow US focus ...
Quebec's religious symbols law passes 1st legal test as judge refuses injunction  CBC NewsA Quebec Superior Court justice has rejected a request to temporarily suspend parts of the province's new religious symbols law, upholding a ban on the ...
How a Rugby Star’s Homophobic Posts Got Australians Arguing About Religion  The New York TimesSYDNEY, Australia — Religion isn't a welcome dinner subject for most Australians. The country has grown increasingly secular, and in one recent poll a majority ...
The ‘nones’ are growing, and that requires a new look at American religion  Fresno BeeThere are more non-religious people now than at any time in our history. At the same time, confidence in organized religion is at an all-time low. Fresno State ...
Shopping is America’s religion. But this isn’t the first country to confuse the two.  The Washington PostWe like to tell ourselves that in some past era, humans celebrated events that had real meaning: harvest festivals and national holidays, Christmas and Yom ...
Americans have little confidence in religion, Congress, news media  The Jerusalem PostGallup first conducted their Confidence in Institutions poll in 1973, around the time of the Watergate scandal. The ratings have been updated annually since ...
Israeli archaeologists discover signs of religion in 9,000-year-old city near Jerusalem  Religion News ServiceJERUSALEM (RNS) — The region around Jerusalem has a long history of religious practices. Those practices might date back to the Stone Age. The people ...

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