Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Religious Pretext

Our Founding Fathers understood the need to uphold both freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, because to infringe on one under the pretext of protecting the other is a betrayal of both.

Jefferson lamented: "the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world."

George Washington explained:"every man should be free to worship according to the dictates of his own conscience."

James Madison wrote:"Religious bondage shackles and dehabilitates the mind, and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect."

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, refused to follow Ben Franklin's suggestion that their daily sessions open with a prayer for divine guidance.

Edmund Randolph the Virginia delegate to the convention, hoped that the absence of religious qualification "will prevent the establishment of any sect in prejudice to the rest and will forever oppose all attempts to infringe religious liberty."

Article VI reads: "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

The First amendment states:"Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment or religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

Our Constitution didn’t sponsor a specific religion, nor should it pressure anyone to practice a particular faith, or any faith at all.  People of all backgrounds and beliefs were supposed to be free to worship, without fear, or coercion.  We should be reaffirming freedom of religion, and the right to practice it the way we choose, to change our faith if we choose, to practice no faith at all if we choose, and to do so free of persecution, fear and discrimination.

That’s not the case today, because the Republican Party wants to restrict people’s choice of faith.


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