I keep hearing people talk about the US being founded on ‘Judeo-Christian beliefs’, to quote John Oxendine.
No it wasn’t, it was founded by people who had been persecuted for the religious beliefs in their homeland and were fleeing that persecution, and they literally had to go halfway around the world to get away from it. The colonies of Rhode Island and Connecticut – and possibly a couple of others in the immediate Massachusetts area – were founded because a couple of generations later, the people of Massachusetts had begun persecuting those with religious beliefs different from THEIRS. Hence my comment in the John Oxendine and Liberty, Part 1: Transportation and Georgia Values post that Mr. Oxendine probably needs to go back to middle school, because it seems that is roughly when I learned those lessons.
But getting to what I really wanted to say in this post:
The question is NOT whether government should allow religious expression on government property or whether it should not.
According to the US Constitution, the government is supposed to remain strictly NEUTRAL on the issue of religion. Now, according to webster.com, neutral means ‘not engaged on either side ; specifically : not aligned with a political or ideological grouping‘.
In other words, per the US Constitution, government isn’t supposed to have a dog in this fight!
Furthermore, government non-neutrality on this issue does no one any favors. Quite simply, religion is a matter of the HEART, and NOTHING government can do will ever change a person’s heart. Changing a heart is an act of God alone.
I guess that’s where a lot of my problem with Theocrats – be they Christian or Muslim or whatever – comes in. The beginnings of my own journey to the Libertarian Party were deeply seated in the issue of legalism within the Church. I come from a very devout Southern Baptist family. Indeed, my dad is still a deacon, as are many of the men I respect most from my childhood. My pastor for a number of years went on to become a Georgia Baptist President for two terms a few years ago. But the church I grew up in was all about rules and appearances, rather than working with real people with real problems. Indeed, during some of the most painful moments of my childhood, my church was nowhere to be found. It didn’t look right, so we had to hide what was happening.
And that is exactly what government taking either side in this debate does. It codifies outward appearances, while inward hearts are breaking.
Government picking a side in religion is one of the cruelest, most sadistic things government can do to an individual, and our Founding Fathers knew this. They wanted us to be FREE to live our lives as we see fit, and not have to worry about what anyone else thought. Therefore, Congress was specifically ordered to be completely neutral on issues of religion. If someone wanted to pray, they were free to do so. If someone beside them wanted to continue to talk, they were also free to do so.
Over the years, much like the people of the Massachusetts colony all those years ago, we have forgotten that message, and we have become that cruel, sadistic, heartless government.
I finally woke up.
I finally realized that there IS true freedom out there, and that the only way any of us are ever going to have it is to take government back to NEUTRALITY on religion.
Every time I hear the song ‘Stained Glass Masquerade‘ by Casting Crowns, my heart breaks. Because I lived that life, and theocrats would have us all continue to live it.
But I found a ‘Different Kind of Free‘, as ZOEgirl puts it, and I’ve decided I’m going to work to make sure Americans experience it too.
If that makes me the enemy of the Theocrat, then so be it.