Monday, November 23, 2015

War on American Religious Freedoms or Fundamentalists' Misapprehensions?

People seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what religious freedom means in America.

I'm just going to go ahead and address Christians here because they seem to be the ones most confused, deluded or disingenuous on this topic here in the US.

This country was set up originally for freedom. NOT for Christian freedom, though there was an overwhelming number of them. Then concept however in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers was to center upon any one religious group was to remove that freedom eventually for either those or others. Only a secular government can protect freedom for all.

That freedom came out of a need to see that we do not ever have to deal with the nightmare of having an abusive king or queen, o some potentate who rules in any way they deem necessary, possibly with complete disregard for the feelings and condition of the citizens of the country, at the burden of the citizenry or parts thereof.

From that came all other things and the desire to have a free country where people could pursue their potential for happiness and advancement in their station regardless of their location of birth, environment or any consideration beyond their desire to achieve happiness and their own intrinsic individual potential to succeed.

This is not a country where you are guaranteed happiness or success, but the systemically equal potential opportunity to achieve those things. That is to say, you will not be disqualified because of birth, or things outside your personal potential as in belonging to caste of "untouchables" in India or a lower class in Britain in the old days.

That includes who your caste, family, country of origin, religion, race, color, etc.

Christians seem to forget in their recent railing against how they feel they are being mistreated, how they have actually historically been prejudicial against other groups, all because of their religion in how it was all interpreted.

Christians were slave owners after all. Christians have been prejudiced and bigoted against gays and other races. And religions. Have you ever heard a Christian say that "Jews killed savior"? What has that really got to do with us today? Absolutely nothing. And if it does, then you can know you're a bigot.

Now Christians are merely starting to feel what those groups felt for hundreds or thousands of years in the playing ground finally becoming equal for all...and it stings.

So what does religious freedom actually mean in a mixed salad country like America?

Once you have the consideration of a mixture of people with various races, cultures, religions, viewpoints, ethnic orientations and so on you have  to view things in a different way not only through one religion or viewpoint.

You have to set up a country that can handle and allow all those groups the freedom to live their lives and at least within the context of their private existences to live how they see fit in order to enjoy their beliefs and to be happy.

That does not mean that once they leave the confines of their home, compound or church, they can dictate how life should be in public.

Most religions in the US have freedom WITHIN reason. After all a group of serial murders in a religion or part of one, who is devoted to serial murder really needs to be shut down for the good of the nation. Think ISIS I suppose in Islam or Sharia Law. Even within that group\system we cannot allow things like honor killings, a very archaic and juvenile practice and belief system.

If this were the Middle Ages, Christians and Muslims all over America would be trying to kill one another. And that goes against the foundation of our nation where all people can live together in peace and tranquility, if not political discussion and debate.

Certainly from their perspective it may appear they are being discriminated against, but that is not the case as the public areas in a country need to be amenable to all people. Leave your differences, as much as possible at home for the common areas where you can intermingle. A religions that preaches separatism in order to practice their faith I find personally sad butt then we have those groups. he Amish. Some Mormons (even though some break laws in those communities in doing so). Some types of monasteries and so on.

If you are going to have a country, for the most part you need to be willing to serve others, not just those who share your beliefs. That means if you are going to go out in public you will see things that you disagree with within your religion but to live in this country you will need to find a way to deal with that and maintain your religion within yourself and YOUR community.

IF you religion cannot handle seeing reality and maintaining you beliefs, your faith, that would seem to me to be a pretty poo religion in the first place. But in the core of religious practices for the most pat, rather than fix what is wrong, believers double down and irritate or rail against, rather than find ways to live in harmony.

Not all religions are like that however. Buddhism comes to mind and from what I've seen, where that isn't' true in those practicing the Buddha Dharma, they are the ones who have lost the way, not their system, but the flavor of that system they have over generations, chosen to subvert and practice. And that is on them, not their religion overall, not necessarily anyway. Though perhaps in some cases it should be. It really depends on the structure of the religion to be amenable to such changes and controls.

What is expected of you as a Christian is for you to keep your beliefs to yourself and be happy.

Not to push those out into the public eye to affect others in their religions, or even those who are atheists who deny the existence of any deity and who do now share your beliefs in a divine overruling entity.

The thing is, we all have to live together.

Even though your beliefs dictate to you that you have to follow this or that rule, that is not the same for everyone. We all have to live together in this contained country. If you don't like that, move. That is the form and structure of this country. Deal with it.

Either you are a good American citizen and share this country with others, or you are not. Right now there are a lot of Christians who are trying very hard not to be good Citizens, who try to push their religion into state and national politics. Some churches too are trying to do this. Churches who do not pay taxes and are getting into national politics., I agree with the many now who are saying if churches want to become political then they too need to pay taxes in order to have that right.

It would  all work far better if we could all just try to get along and not expect so very much from a nation where very different types of people are all trying to live together and get a long. Because in that is our strength, not in all of us practicing whatever you think is best for us.Or you neighbor. Because if we all do what you want, then one day we may all just decide to do what your neighbor wants, and that my friend, you may come to find a very unsatisfying experience.

Let's get along and support having the secular government we have before it is too late and you find you have gotten what you want, and it has cost us all so very dearly.

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