…of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
In my high school days, I was extremely interested in politics and constitutional law. My involvement has waned in recent years, but my mind starts blazing anytime I see constitutional rights being blatantly ignored. Rarely does it provoke enough anger for me to write about it, but the recent proposal prohibiting Christian members of the military from sharing their faith irks me. It more than irks me. It infuriates me.
The last time I read the Constitution, the very first Amendment went something like this: “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.” Whether or not I like the fact that I share this right with other religions, something tells me that sharing one’s faith is a part of the free exercise of religion, whether one is a Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, or Atheist (yes, its a “religion” too–but that’s another story for another time). Regardless of religious preference, in the United States, I have the Constitutional right to make that an integral part of my daily life. And, like all things that are important to me, I am probably going to talk about it.
Certainly, if I do something (for religious purposes or otherwise) that threatens the life or safety of another human beings, my violent actions should be restricted and punished accordingly, but that discipline should be exempt from religious influences. A Christian who breaks the law should be subject to the same treatment and punishment as a Muslim or Atheist who breaks the law. It is no different than racism. The nation goes into an uproar when two people who commit the same crime are sentence differently based upon the color of their skin. Yet, differentiating based on religion is okay? If I murder someone, then I should receive appropriate sentence for that murder, and, all things considered, it should be the same sentence as an individual of any other religion who commits the same crime. It is not for me to create a religious profile for people and say that “all Christians are murderers,” or that “all Atheists steal.” People make individual choices and they should be judged according to their choices, not according to their religion. That is justice.
Typically, I prefer to keep my political thoughts to myself, believing that they often lend only to worthless debates. But there are times when one must speak up. There are those things worth fighting for. I think this is one of them. Yes, I am a Christian. Yes, I believe that my right to be a Christian is protected by the Constitution. But I also believe that when the government starts picking and choosing among religions, that it is treading on historically dangerous ground. The best way to prevent repeating the mistakes of the past is to nip the spreading branches of government-driven racial or religious selection in the bud. Genocide is defined as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.” Government-driven genocide is no stranger to world history, and each time, it began with the governmental and media-promulgated generalization of a chosen race or religion as a threat to society. I would like to believe that I would fight as fiercely to protect innocent Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, or other religious groups from such selection as I would Christians. The Constitution protects us all equally–if, of course, the government adheres to the checks and balances designed to prevent such a genocide from occurring.
Now is the time to remind the government that the people of America, rather than being divided over religious and moral differences, can stand united against a government that has clearly overstepped its bounds and is violating the very principles that brought its founders to this country in the first place.