Freedom of Religion

By Cookie Newsom

In America now we are being asked by some to turn the country into a theocracy, to base our laws on the Bible, something the supposedly revered Founding Fathers specifically forbade.

The people who want to turn us into an Americanized version of sharia law do not understand that the very essence of Freedom of Religion is that you can believe what you want, worship how you want , although human sacrifice is frowned upon in modern times, but you cannot tell me what to believe or how, or even to, worship. Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. Telling people they cannot do something because your religion says it is wrong is facetious.

Note to Xenia: The Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn are a no-no as is the “ Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.” Church and state are to remain separate remember.

In my version of religion there are some things that just do not make sense:

1) God does not enable people to win football games, basketball games, horse races, track meets or any other athletic or sports competition. Thanking Jesus after a victory is diminishing and preposterous. My brain cannot conceive of a God who wants one team to beat another and intervenes to make it so. If his eye is on the sparrow he has no time to root for the Ravens.

2) God does not enable people to get better jobs, better cars, nicer houses. If that is true then God plays favorites—based on what? The Puritans would explain this by suggesting the unfortunate are doing something to displease God that is not apparent to the rest of us, convenient, huh? If you are poor or oppressed it is because you deserve to be.

3) God does not expect you to do well and ignore those who are not doing well. The only things I can remember from the Bible about wealth are the warnings that rich people getting in to heaven is like trying to pass a camel through the eye of a needle, and the admonition to help the poor and unfortunate. I do not recall any verse that suggests God wants to help you beef up your 401K unless you interpret “ I shall not want” thusly.

4) Declaring yourself virtuous because you go to church and believe in God does not make you virtuous. Being in a church does not make you a virtuous Christian, or person, anymore than being in a garage makes you a car.

Our über religious are trying to make it so that only certain people get to decide what is right based on their religion and their ideals, many of which are based in some form of bigotry or discrimination. Bigotry is not a religious virtue, or any kind of virtue for that matter.

Americans need to quit substituting prayer for action and advocacy. Thoughts and prayers are about as useful as wishes in a bottle that we drop in the ocean. We need to get back to the fundamentals of most all major religions, helping others, caring about your community—all of your community, not just some that you like, being reflective about what is good and what is not, trying to be the best person you can be without judging other people. Fight hunger, homelessness, ignorance, racism, sexism, intolerance, elitism and oppression against any human being. Stop trying to pass laws that force your ideas on others, it is not nice and could be dangerous. Church attendance is down in America. If we pass laws based on what people believe and think you might find yourself having do some things you really do not want to do. Be careful what you wish for.

By Cookie Newsom

Dr. Cookie Newsom is a retired teacher-professor. Contact her with comments at [email protected]

Dr. Cookie Newsom is a retired teacher-professor. Contact her with comments at [email protected]