I had an interesting thought while trying to think of some random topic in which I can ramble about today during my opinion piece. The thought was: Why is it okay for special interest groups to have the ability to influence American politics, but at the first report of someone’s religious beliefs being a factor, it causes an uproar? The main argument people run to is the expression of the “separation of church and state.” What is interesting is that this particular principle cannot be found within the content of the U.S. Constitution. It stems from two sources: the “establishment of religion clause” of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802. However, I believe their argument somewhat twists the intended meaning of this clause and what Jefferson intended when he penned this letter.
The “establishment of religion clause” was meant to prevent the government from establishing a “state” religion much like the Church of England. At the time this was written, the Founding Fathers were also contending with political matters that concerned national unity and security. Therefore, the religious establishment was a secondary concern. When religion was addressed, it was to determine the appropriate relationship between religion and government. The ultimate concern was prohibiting the government from favoring one set of religious beliefs over another set of religious beliefs. The American people were given the right to practice whatever religion they held to be true, as long as those religious beliefs did not infringe upon the rights of others.
Here is where my thoughts concerned me: I have my personal beliefs about a Supreme, Intelligent Being Who created and interacts with all that exists…but I do not impose my beliefs on anyone. If given an opportunity to share my beliefs with someone, I share them and allow the individual to make an informed decision on their own. In relation to these special interest groups, their ideological beliefs can actually influence governmental legislation at the local, state, and federal levels. These legislative acts impact my life and the lives of every American citizen either directly or indirectly. Their mere existence is imposed upon us regardless of whether we agree with them or not. How is this equitable consideration?
I am not saying that my set of personal beliefs should influence every or any area of American policy. What I am saying is that I believe there are some elements of morals and values found within religious beliefs that would have a positive impact of some sectors of society. When looking at the climate of the contemporary American culture, I believe that we all could use an injection of morals and values that focuses on the humanity of each person and their place within the American society, their ability to be both seen and have their voices heard by policy makers, and the overall betterment of the American community. What are your thoughts? I would appreciate any feedback from anyone as this is a community effort to living our best life in honor of the One Who has given us this life to live. Love God…love others….love yourself!