On December 21st in 1620, the ‘Pilgrim forefathers’ landed in Plymouth Massachusetts. The day has since been dubbed “Forefather’s Day” … In coming to America with the intent to practice and exercise religious freedom, one might be inclined to contrast the state of Plymouth and the US at large, today, and its dealings with religion.
While you may have heard stories about Santa Claus being banned because of his ties to Christianity, a Menorah banned while a Christmas trees got to stay, Atheists up in arms because they can’t get their sign next to a nativity, or demands that a Catholic University provide Muslim prayer rooms … a larger question seems to loom, that question being:
Is it “governments” place to be involved with religion in the first place?
The First Amendment States:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
To avoid confusion, imagine if the first amendment were written as such:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Congress shall make no law respecting or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. Congress shall make no law respecting the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
In that light, it would seem as if the government’s policy toward religion was not only in matters of respect (defined as paying homage) or in matters ‘regarding,’ but a policy of blind justice where laws are not made to either hinder or encourage interested parties.
In finality, it would seem that it is not the government’s job to be in the business to solving complaints except in instances of willful negation, ie. the premise of separate water fountains for those differentiated by matters of heredity. However, as religion is something that people are born into (but also choose to participate in) any actions taken to favor one group yet not hinder another would seem matters of which the First Amendment is not relevant to.
In a sentence: it does not seem the purpose of the First Amendment to prevent people from a bigoted or discriminatory lifestyle so much as to ensure that those harboring a discriminatory disposition are unable to force it upon others with the assistance of the government.
As for the Pilgrims, they CHOSE their brand of Christianity, and because their brand wasn’t ‘hip-with-it’ in Europe, they came to the New World; in essence, they took it upon THEMSELVES to accommodate and fulfill what they perceived as their righteous duty in the face of the eternal…
In our times, is it outlandish to think that those concerned with issues as important as the meaning of life, death, and eternity are perhaps out of bounds when pursuing the aid of some government bureaucrat on their personal quest to force others to conform to their concept of the divine?