Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Freedom from Religion?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”

These famous words were written as our fledgling nation declared its independence from a tyrannical, oppressive British king. They are the foundation of the concept of liberty and rights we hold so dear in this country.

Notice the wording, as it is extremely important: we are created equal, we are endowed by our Creator. It doesn’t say we are born equal or evolved equal. It also doesn’t say we have rights inherently; they are given to us by our Creator. Regardless of what you believe, it is clear here what the Founders believed.

So why is that wording so important? What difference does it make if our rights are given to us by our Creator or just assumed? Here’s why: the Founders understood that without God, we have no rights. Think about it. If there is no God, then who decides what we are allowed to do? Who makes the rules?

The obvious answer is well, men. But which men? You? Me? Do we each determine our own rights? No, that would be a recipe for anarchy, because my definition of “rights” is necessarily going to be different than yours.

Well, then who? The answer is the Golden Rule: whoever has the gold makes the rules. Or whoever is the strongest. Or has the most weapons. Usually it is all the same person or persons. The problem is that knowing the fallibility of men, they can hardly be trusted to be just or fair enough not to be self-serving in their making of the rules. This can be seen in many governments all over the world that operate on atheism, namely every communist, Marxist, and socialist government. The people in power have more rights than everyone else. In fact, everyone else has no rights.

What makes our country, and our freedom, unique is the belief that there is a higher power that gave us our liberties, and that no one on earth is allowed to mess with them.

These liberties of course include the freedom to worship as we please, but that does not mean that our government should be free of religion. You see, all those people, atheist or otherwise, that would have you believe that in order to have freedom of religion, you have to take God out of everything, are missing the point: if you take away God, you take away freedom, and so this “freedom from God” that they try to push becomes null and void and a moot point. We must have a government where belief and faith in God is practiced and relied upon to make the rules, because our form of government does not work otherwise.

Nowhere in our Declaration of Independence or Constitution does it say that God is not allowed in the government or that it must be secular. There is a reason why the 10 Commandments hold such a prominent place in our courthouses. For those of you thinking about citing the text from the First Amendment, here it is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. That means that Congress can’t force us to worship any one religion. Period. It does not say anything about faith in God being used and displayed in government institutions.

To further explain, let’s liken our country to a steakhouse. Steakhouses serve steak as their main food, and their décor usually involves mounted cowhides, antlers, cow skulls, etc. They also serve many other foods, though, including seafood, vegetables, and grains. If a vegan were to enter a steakhouse, he probably would be welcome to eat there, just as people of all faiths are welcome to live and worship (or not) in our country. In fact, chances are the restaurant could make accommodations for the vegan’s diet, just as we make special accommodations for specific religious practices. However, they have to be aware that they are at a place where the primary dish is steak and not be offended by the menu or the décor, just as an atheist has to be aware that we a God-fearing nation and refrain from being offended by our practice and display of that faith. The vegan certainly has a choice not to eat at the steakhouse, just as non-believers in God have the choice not to live in the United States. They do not, however, get to change our rules and practices to suit their beliefs (or lack thereof.)

Allowing atheists or others offended by God to dictate the laws, policies, and presence of God in our schools and government buildings is like allowing the vegan to dictate the menu and décor of a steakhouse. Without steak, it stops being a steakhouse, just like our nation stops being a place of freedom and rights without God.