Wednesday, May 19, 2010

America - Not Just For Christians

You hear frequently from the Right that "Liberals" are trying to get rid of God. "They are trying to take the ten commandments off court buildings, take prayer away from children...I bet they'll even take God out of our pledge and American creeds!" Nobody is trying to "get rid of God!" If anything, the Christian God symbols are being added and displayed more and more. The Pledge of Allegiance only had the word "God" in it within the last 50 years. The Texas Pledge just added the word "God" a few years ago. Do you honestly need to have Christian symbols and words written on courts of law, on American money, in almost every patriotic symbol, to continue on with your faith? Our government is secular and doesn't (or shouldn't) privilege one religion over another. There's a reason in the early days of our country the leaders (even the religious leaders) fought to keep religion out of the government.

Let me paint an example. This is America, the land where people have freedom to believe, or not to believe, in whatever they so choose. We pride ourselves in the roots of our tolerance and openness to all walks of life. Now, let's suppose the majority of Americans are Muslim. (It very well could, as the brand of "God" is not specified in the declaration. I could have also used the Mormon, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, or Atheist analogy to make my point.)
So, picture this: You, as a Christian, are to say the pledge of allegiance every morning at school, but instead of saying God, you have to say "Allah". You, as a Christian, are to use American money with the words, "In Allah We Trust". You, as a Christian, listen to the news and hear politicians scream about how a candidate is not Muslim enough. You, as a Christian, have to go to court, for whatever reason, and have to enter buildings with maybe this quote from the Quran engraved in the stones above its doorway, "The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto: but if a person forgets and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah." [62:40] or maybe this verse "The only true faith in Allah's sight is Islam".

You, as a Christian, hear that Republicans want to change the law and want to have prayer in all public schools, therefore the students would now have a prayer mat and pray to the west at least once during the day. You also hear that Republicans want to change all of the text books, because they feel that more leaders, with strong Muslim roots, should be taught rather than actual historical events. Now, your tax dollars have paid for the school buildings, text books, and teacher salaries. Your tax dollars pay for the court house, for the politician's salaries that voted in the word "Allah" into the American creeds and so fourth. Now, do you feel that America is living up to it's creed of tolerance and openness? Do you now feel degraded and feel that you are not valued as a citizen? It is quite arrogant of that one particular religious group isn't it, who feel they own America and that nobody else really seems to matter or count?

My point is, Christians do not own America, and it is arrogant to think otherwise. Excuse this analogy, but it's like a dog peeing everywhere to mark his territory. Nobody is trying to take "God away." It's just the case of trying to keep certain places, especially those owned by Government/tax payers, neutral or to keep things on an even playing field so to speak. If things are neutral, and one group isn't receiving special attention over another, then there isn't a reason for anyone to get offended or to feel that they are less American. Or, you could do the opposite, you can make sure that every single religion/non-religion is represented on court houses, money, and so fourth....but I would think that would get a little pricey and ridiculous.

Nobody is trying to take the Christian religion away. A belief lies within your heart, your teachings to your children, your church (or religious meeting place) and religious community, and within the choices you make for YOURSELF. However, your religion does not belong on the front of a court buildings. And, taking down religious phrases off court buildings does not take away from your still have the right to practice whatever faith you so choose....that's the great thing about Freedom of Religion!