Civil Rights And Freedom Of Religion
In the last article, Civil Rights And Freedom From Religion, we examined the startling evidence that seems to point toward an apparently erroneous assumption that America is a Christian nation, or specifically built on Judeo-Christian principles. Yet, before we cheer for the secularists, let’s hear what the conservatives have to say.
- Are the observance of Christmas and the upholding of Civil Rights mutually exclusive?
- To what length should Americans go to ensure that religious oppression is prevented?
- How does The Constitution protect us from ourselves?
Freedom From Or Freedom Of Religion?
The Bill of Rights states that
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...It is plain that religion is to be a personal choice of any individual. The government is specifically forbidden from establishing an “official” religion, nor may it hinder any individual from exercising any faith, or no faith at all. Secular critics have taken this platform as a battle-cry to wage war against any form of perceived (or actual) religious expression within state-funded/sponsored institutions. Yet, we must question where the free exercise of a religion ends, and the government sponsoring of said religion begins.
Freedom To Utter Religious Speech
In spite of the 1797’s Treaty with Tripoli, wherein George Washington’s government forged an alliance with the Muslim rulers of North Africa with the words
"[T]he government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion….,"we must remember also that this very George Washington's own first general order following the Declaration of Independence stated quite clearly:
"The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country."
- “This is a Christian Nation” proclaimed the United States Supreme Court as early as 1892 in the landmark decision of HOLY TRINITY CHURCH v. U.S. (143 U.S. 457, 12 S.Ct. 511, 36 L.Ed. 226).
- John Adams stated “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- Thomas Jefferson himself exclaimed “can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?"
So, I again pose the question if United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was wrong when he alleged that “God,” as a term as well as an idea, is woven into every aspect of American society, from the look of our money to the text of our Declaration of Independence, and thus our jurisprudence should comport with our actions? To find out more, please read the final article in this series on Civil Rights and Religion.
Please take a look at the editor’s book recommendations.
To understand both sides of the issue, please consider reading J. Buziszewski’s book, which “argues that not only are there universal moral truths, but that all human beings commonly know them. He says that his "natural law" (which mirrors his conception of Biblical law) is woven into the nature of humans and positions of moral skepticism are in fact false”:
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