Posted by: CeCe | April 4, 2012

Letting freedom ring

I’ve been thinking a lot about how sometimes I’m criticized for having the view that I do regarding how much religion should be involved in legislation.  I have been told that it makes me less of a Christian, that it makes me a hypocrite, that I’m more secular than religious and shouldn’t even call myself a Christian.

Ouch, right?  Well, I do get what my detractors are saying.  In a paper I wrote regarding this very subject, I quoted from a speech made before Congress and the Young Lawyers Committee of the Federal Bar Association in 1963 by former Alabama Senator John J. Sparkman, who said that “[t]his fraternity of secularists, if given further leeway, will remove chaplains from our armed services, our legislative assemblies, both State and National, and create… the feeling that a tribute to God… is a misdemeanor, if not a crime.”  I believe that this voices the concerns perfectly.  They may see the removal of administration-led prayer in public schools as the beginning of this process, which of course inevitably will end in the feeding of Christians to the lions (slight exaggeration).

I understand this, really.

However, I also understand the secularist side.  They too see their freedoms being stripped away one by one, by the prevalence of religion in the public sphere.  In many parts of the country, political candidates who are outspoken about not being Christians have very slim chances, if any, of winning any election.  “In God We Trust” is printed on our money.  There is still a controversy about teaching evolution in public schools.  There are “blue laws” in the books of various states’ laws, some of which put restrictions on the sale of alcohol and other products on various days of the week.  The list goes on and on.

All of the above may seem to be a good thing to some people, and it may make sense to increase the effect religion has on the public.  However.  I wonder how quickly they would change their tune if it was the extreme end of Sharia law that was being implemented.  Too much?  Okay, how about just average Islam?  Imagine, learning the Qur’an in Arabic would probably be required, along with salah [Islamic prayer, five times a day], and sawm [fasting during Ramadan].  The sales of alcohol and pork (along with pork products) would immediately be prohibited.  Women would be strongly encouraged to at least wear a hijab, if not a burqa.  Even though the more extreme aspects of Islam (such as stoning, beheading, and “honor” killings) wouldn’t be present, just the moderate forms of Islamic law are enough, right?  No offense to any Muslims who may be reading, but let’s face it:  Countries that enforce these laws are not exactly the most liberal places to live.

That would all be really unfair, right?  Doesn’t it make you angry thinking about it?  Doesn’t it make you want to say that no, Allah is not great, Muhammad is not God’s prophet, and Jesus Christ was not just a prophet?  That’s what it’s like for those who are not Christians, when we push our religion on them.  It’s not fair to them.

And before anyone starts wanting to say that if they don’t like it, they can take a flying leap/leave the country/whatever, remember this:  Not all of the founding fathers were devout Christians, and many of those who have made our country great were indeed not Christians.  We spit on their graves when we don’t allow non-Christians freedom from our religion.  And finally, I seem to remember a very wise man (and, um, the Son of God) saying something about doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.

When we seek to oppress the rights of others, whether we are doing so in the name of God or not, we are not following the teachings of Christ.  Who, then, are we following?

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