Thursday, February 4, 2016

Barack Obama And The Fight Against Bigotry

And so if we’re serious about freedom of religion -- and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country -- we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths. And when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up.  And we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion. - Barack Obama, speaking yesterday at the Islamic Society of Baltimore

Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination. 
- Thomas Jefferson, describing the passage of the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom

"In the formation of the American ideal and principles of what we consider to be exceptional American values, Muslims were, at the beginning, the litmus test for whether the reach of American constitutional principles would include every believer, every kind, or not." - Denise Spellberg, professor of history and Islamic studies at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders


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1 comment:

  1. The separation of church and state is not just to protect religion from government and vice-versa, but is mainly to protect religions from each other. One of the reasons that Christians left other countries to come to America was to escape religious persecution. But these Christians were coming to America to escape religious persecution perpetrated on them by other Christians (Catholics vs. Protestants, for example).

    Anyone who states that America is a Christian nation should be asked this question: If America is a Christian nation, which denomination of Christianity is America a Christian nation of (that obviously needs to be worded better). Is it Mormon? Roman Catholic? Episcopalian? Baptist? Southern Baptist? Eastern Orthodox? Anglican? Lutheran? Methodist? 7th Day Adventist? Any of dozens if not hundreds of others?

    If they pick one or just a few, then they have marginalized all the other denominations. If they say all of them, then they have marginalized the very real differences between each of the denominations. This has very real consequences because those differences become policy differences at the government level and we once again have religious persecution of one Christian denomination against another. After all, not all denominations think that being gay is something that should be punished. Not all denominations think that woman should be treated as second-class citizens. Etc., etc., etc.

    The only correct answer is that America is a Christian nation in that a majority of the citizens belong to one Christian denomination or another, but the government of this nation is secular so as to protect those denominations from each other as well as protect other religious groups from Christians, protect Christians from other religious groups, protect religions of all stripes from government and protect government from all these religions.

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