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Freedom of Religion by Candi Karsjens

(Submitted to by Candi Karsjens)

Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Two of the wonderful aspects of living in the United States is that you have, under the US Constitution, the freedom to freely exercise your chosen religion and freedom of speech. According to Webster’s the definition for religion is: the service or worship of God or the supernatural and the commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance. Many countries around the globe do not have freedom of religion, like Iran. An extensive survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid. In this survey, 16.1% of the 35,000 surveyed said they were unaffiliated (agnostic, athiest or nothing in particular) and .8% did not respond. The other 83.1 are affiliated with a religion. Athiests and agnostics make the news for crime all the time, but because they are not affiliated with a “religious” group, they aren’t tagged as such. When someone who has no belief in a higher power commits a heinous crime or shows intolerance, the news media does not change the focus of the story to that as a focal point. Only when someone does something stupid or commits a crime and they have a religious affiliation do t! hey point that out. As a side note, if you are researching a topic, I would stay away from Wikepedia. Most major universities do not allow their students to use this as a research resource because there are too many inaccuracies. There is a difference between having a religious denomination and actually being religious, or believing in God. Going to church does not make you religious, practicing your faith does. People who are truly religious use their religion as a pathway to God, not God himself. One who practices the fruits of the Holy Spirit faithfully will have and pass on peace, love, joy, patience, self-control, goodness, gentleness, kindness and faithfulness (Galations 5:22). Isn’t this what morality is based on? The problem today is that many young people pick up their morals from MTV, Jersey Shore or whatever television show is popular. What is “reason-based” morality? How can one put blind trust in “human-reason”? Open the paper, you can see what kind of human reason some people are using. The Bible hasn’t changed for 2000 years, but society and the morals they are willing to accept has changed. If “human reason” is based on what society is willing to accept as moral, I am afraid. Unfort! unately, there are always extremists in every walk of life, including those that take action under the notion of a religious belief. We should count our blessing that the founding fathers (who were almost all ordained ministers) recognized the value of the freedoms engraved in the US Constitution and included freedom of speech and freedom of religion. This is the real story. Without this, we wouldn’t have the ability to have this type of open discussion. Read the story on China and the new Nobel Peace Prize winner today.||

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