The Pink Flamingo may take a different view of ‘Freedom of Religion’ than a heck of a lot of people. I suppose that goes back to my high school history, government, and newspaper teacher who was also my political mentor. One thing that always stuck in my mind, those many years ago was the fact that he stressed that ‘freedom of religion’ was actually ‘freedom from religion’. By having a very unique freedom to worship as we please in this nation, protected by the Bill of Rights, our Founding Fathers guaranteed that we would have no state sanctioned religion. Along with this was the freedom not to have any form of religion forced upon us. If we didn’t want a religion one was not required.
The Founding Fathers had a ‘freethinking’ streak about them. Contrary to popular myth promoted by the likes of the extreme right, Glenn Beck, and FOX Tabloid News, the men who founded this nation were far less religious than those who occupy Congress today, Democrats and liberals included. Thomas Jefferson was a Deist who wrote his own edited version of the Bible. John Adams was a Unitarian. Benjamin Franklin was a womanizing reprobate who kept a pew in a local Presbyterian church, but was more closely aligned with the infamous Hellfire Club (while in England) than anything very Christian. The case could probably be made that Franklin may have been more closely aligned to today’s pagan culture than anything Christian.
These men did not want the Church of England, Anglicanism, AKA the Episcopal Church, forced upon them. Ergo they rebelled and decreed that we should be allowed to worship as we please. The rather humorous irony here is, if a state religion had been required, it would have been Anglican – i.e. the far right’s much hated Episcopal Church. Because of the Revolutionary War, the official Church of England refused to allow a bishop to travel to the rebellious colonies to anoint new priests, allow new communicants of the church, and to even create a bishop for the new world. It was only by subterfuge, out of Scotland, that a Samuel Seabury was consecrated.
Because the Founders were determined that no state religion should be forced upon anyone, what is being done in Mississippi is deplorable.
“...According to the lawsuit, which was filed by the American Humanist Association on Wednesday, students were given no advance notice about the nature of the assembly, but were told that attendance was required. It soon became clear, however, when a member of Pinelake Baptist Church opened his presentation by talking about finding hope in Jesus Christ.
The assembly allegedly also warned students against premarital sex, pornography, and homosexuality. As the lawsuit detailed, the program included a video of four speakers explaining how their troubled lives had been saved by Christianity…Soon after, “the assembly immediately turned into a full-blown lecture on the supposed miracles, powers, and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Church Representative encouraged all students to find sanctity in him,” and no one was permitted to leave. “The School’s truancy officer, Jeff White (“Officer White”), harassed several students who attempted to leave and told them to sit back down,” read the complaint.
According to the complaint, the school repeated the same assembly for 11th graders on April 10. A few juniors had been tipped off that it would be a religious assembly and “attempted to go to the library or another classroom instead but they were prevented from doing so by Officer White.” A third mandatory assembly was held this Monday for 10th graders, the suit alleges….”
You have a right in this country, even in high school, not to have a specific religion forced upon you. You have a right, even as a student, to refuse to participate in any forced religion in school.
When I was a kid, growing up in South Carolina, just about everyone was Southern Baptist. Because I was, at the time, attending the local Presbyterian church with my parents, my 6th Grade teacher literally persecuted me for it. I was treated so badly that I fully comprehend what the kids at that school in Mississippi were feeling.
If I had a child in public school, I would want no religious activity at all. None, nada, zilch, nothing. If I had a kid in school, I should have the right to say what sort of religious training was being forced on my child. There is nothing wrong with a class in comparative religion. BUT – to have a religion – any religion, forced on a person, who is not in a position to protest, and dissent, is well, it’s downright unconstitutional.
The Pink Flamingo is a Christian who tries very hard to live by the Sermon on the Mount. What I refuse to do is force what I believe on anyone, Christian or otherwise. If someone can’t see what I believe by the way I live, then I’m at fault, not them. If my life is not an example of what living with Christ in your life is about, then I have the problem, not the person who needs to find Christ.