Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why don't we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!

I got an email forward this weekend that got under my skin a little and not just because of the mere fact that it was a forward. It detailed some of the instances where Christianity has come into play in the history of our government and the amazement that "How, then, have we gotten to the point that everything we have done for 220 years in this country is now suddenly wrong and unconstitutional?". It closes with:
It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or "In God We Trust" on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!
I found the full email online here, though the version I received had a few less "Did you know?'s".

And here was my response...

It is true that our country is based on Judeo-Christian values but more importantly our country is also intentionally secular. The first amendment of the constitution clearly spells out that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". There is a very fuzzy line though in determining what is religious and what is favoring one religion over another. I think it is more important for everyone in this country to be able to practice the religion of their choosing (or no religion) though than it is for the majority to have their religious symbols supported by the government.

The thing that really bothers me about this email though is the idea that because a majority thinks something should be one way that makes it the right way, and that the minority should "sit down and shut up!!!". When the majority rules they can easily ignore the rights of the minority. Imagine if instead of being the majority, Christians were the minority. Would you feel the same way then? Or try being a Christian in an Islamic republic like Iran. Many of the first settlers came to what would become the United States fleeing religious persecution in Europe. Groups like the Puritans and Quakers. It is the separation of church and state that allows Christians to worship as they want.

The United States is the most diverse country in the world and that is one of the many things that makes us so great. Our diversity forces us to be more understanding and accepting of other views. Compromise and understanding are necessary parts of the process.