Discussion Topic – May 22nd, 2015

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Scott 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #276

    Brenna at CI
    Participant

    “Why do you believe is it important to protect the freedom of religion from government mandates?”

    Remember, a thoughtful response earns you a FREE Western Conservative Summit T-shirt!

    #277

    Katrina Mendez
    Participant

    I believe the freedom of religion is a very important freedom and a freedom that a lot of Americans (Christians and Non-Christians) take for granted. It is very important to protect our freedom of religion from government mandates because we do not want a country that is able to control what religion we practice or who we pray to. For example, I am a Christian who worships and prays to Jesus and if our government ever established a national religion or made us practice a religion that I did not want to practice (such as Islam or Buddhism) I would not be able to exercise freedom of religion. If our government started controlling and mandating what religion we can and can not practice, many people would either be forced into practicing a religion they do not believe in, or they would be persecuted for practicing a religion that the government did not approve of. It is obvious that this is a vital freedom that needs to be continuously upheld and fought for. If our freedom of religion was ever taken away from us, groups of people would undoubtedly begin to be persecuted for practicing their own religion. As a matter of fact, people have already been persecuted simply due to their religious beliefs. A couple of months ago, for example, a sixth grade student was censored by her teacher and principle for simply including the verse John 3:16 on her personal powerpoint presentation to her class. (The school did eventually retract their actions against the sixth grader, but only after having legal actions thrown at them.) I can not imagine the events and actions that would take place in this country if our freedom of religion was taken from us. I am very thankful to our Founding Fathers for drafting and passing the first amendment to the Constitution, the right to freedom of religion.

    #278

    HollyAnne
    Participant

    I think it is extremely important that we are allowed religious freedom. If you are a strong follower of your religion it completely redefines your life. It is a crucial part of your identity. (For me being a christian is huge. I mean if you really believe that the creator of the universe loves you and has a plan for your life, it radically changes your decisions). I believe that if you take away a person’s right to practice their religion then it is taking away the very foundation of who they are.

    There is a lot of talk going on now about religion, with so many extremists movements.

    “I heard people in Iraq call leaders in the US ‘Christian extremists,’ just as leader here speak of ‘Muslim extremists.’ Everyone is declaring war and asking for God’s blessing. One beautiful Iraqi mother threw her hands in the air and said, ‘Your country is declaring war in the name of God and asking God’s blessing, and that is the same thing my country is doing. What kind of God is this? What happened to the God of love, to the Prince of Peace?” Shane Clairborne in “The Irresistible Revolution”.

    This passage is referring to the US’s response to the 9/11 attacks. But now ISIS is the new extremist on the block and it makes you wonder about religion. If religion is causing people to do this then shouldn’t we try to stop it and contain it? But you can’t. People should be allowed freedom of religion, because it the fundamental make up of their character (if they are strong believers). Now if their religion is causing them to attack other human beings than I believe actions should be taken to stop this. But we can’t bar religion because of these attacks. (Most religions are peaceful. The attacks, in most cases, are made by people misinterpreting the religion or just using it in “name only” and are not even followers of the religion.) I think protecting freedom of religion is important so that people can be free to choose what they believe.

    #290

    Lydia
    Participant

    Socialist Russia, Nazi Germany, and Communist China all got one thing right. That is, to subject a society one must destroy the freedom of religion and all of the good for which that freedom stands. The most important reasons to protect freedom of religion and prevent such a disaster of totalitarianism in the United States are: to safeguard freedom of belief, to uphold the Constitution, and to preserve the unity of this country.
    At first glance, the freedom of religion, although important, may seem like something that can be compromised to keep the peace. After all, what difference would those kind of laws make, except to the crackpot fanatics? Those laws would make all the difference in the world because of what they limit and what they allow the government to affect. When governments regulate religion they are also able to then regulate the other beliefs that their citizens hold. Take, for example, science in the public schools. Since religion is banned, the government also is able to dictate kind of scientific theories that are taught enabling questionable hypotheses like that of Darwin’s evolution to be declared as fact. Religion then, is just the tip of a very large iceberg one could call the freedom of belief. If the government of the United States, or of any nation, is allowed to dictate what its citizens are to believe about the metaphysical, what is to stop those governments from dictating beliefs about all other areas of life? There was nothing to stop the Communist Party of China in it regulation of such beliefs. If America does not wish to become a regime, then our government must cease to subject religion to its view of what is politically correct.
    What is the first amendment that the founders of America added to the Constitution? It was an amendment concerning the fact that the freedom of religion, of expression, and of belief in general was a no-no zone for governmental regulation. What this means is that if the government is allow to regulate religion, the Constitution is being discarded. Maybe not as a whole, but then what is the point of it being partially intact? Our government is made of checks and balances so that in the case of imperfect men ruling other imperfect men, there might be a way of preventing corruption. If the branches of the government are allowed to choose which parts of the Constitution they will or will not follow, the balance of power is utterly destroyed. If that were to occur than the three branches of government would become little more than the facades of an oligarchy. To prevent this from happening, it is imperative that all the parts of the Bill of Rights and Constitution by followed. Even if it is difficult, to preserve the balance of power, religion must be kept from the government.
    On April 12, 1861 Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, ordered one of his generals to fire upon Fort Sumpter in Charleston harbor. This action was the flashpoint for the Civil War, which cost more American lives that both World Wars combined. Why was this war fought? A simple answer is because of politics and men’s firm beliefs. In many cases it was a matter of conscience. What does this have to do with the freedom of religion? Religion is also something that many hold dear. For example many jihadists die for religion. Although there are not many fanatics like that in America they do exist and would be willing to fight if the government regulated religion and belief. If a war like that started, where would it end? Massacre? Revolution? Secession? The world is a troubled enough place without America going to pieces in civil war. For the continued existence of the Union, the government must not regulate religion.
    In the end the matter of religion is rather simple. On the one hand is continued freedom of thought, action, and belief. On the other stands the terrors of totalitarianism and civil war. If we as Americans do not take a stand on the freedom of religion, then the government will ultimately follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and the People’s Republic of China and steal all of the freedoms that we hold so dear.

    #292

    Scott
    Participant

    Protecting freedom of religion from government is essential for one simple reason: Religions of all creeds preach that they, as churches, are subordinate to an authority higher than government- God, or gods, depending on your faith. When government begins to exercise authority to regulate religion, it is declaring itself superior even to God himself; therefore, in trying to regulate religion, government is attempting to deify itself, in the greatest tradition of despots and tyrants the world over. In the United States, the Government is subordinate to the People, who are subordinate to God. When religious freedom begins to be regulated, the government not only denies the sovereignty of the governed, but of the true Heavenly sovereign of the governed- God, or the deity of any religion practiced by a citizen of the United States- effectively usurping power on two levels at once. Religious freedom is the most precious freedom of all because it reminds Government that they cannot truly be sovereign over the governed precisely because someone else- God- already is. Perhaps that is why government is so eager for this freedom to erode.

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