The Freedom OF Religion - my take!Submitted by The Pen on Thu, 11/07/2013 - 18:27
The freedom of religion, being protected by the 1st Amendment of the Constitution seems to be ambiguous to the freedoms it implies. What is freedom of religion? It could be said that the freedom of religion is found in the study or practice of such religion; the aspiration to attain the morality of the doctrines and teachings of such religion. It could also be said that the freedom of religion is simply the freedom to practice whatever religious or spiritual study one is inclined to study. I believe that the 1st Amendment is simply a statement for the latter. Having the freedom to practice and study religion affords itself to the desired freedom found by such practice and study, after all one doesn’t attain the freedom that religion or spiritual practice can bring unless one is free to practice it in the first place. This is needlessly said.
It seems strange that we continue to push the tired point that the 1st Amendment states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
Congress has and Congress is helpless in redressing what they’ve squabbled and squandered. What is meant by respecting an establishment of religion? What is meant by prohibiting the free exercise thereof? The mandates of the Affordable Care Act regarding contraception and abortion have already made their marks on religious institutions and associations AND Congress was directly involved in this prohibition of the free exercise of religious institutions that disavow the legislations therein. And even if there were not a single law respecting an establishment of religion, religion is the vice that decides whether one will be voted to political seat or not, regardless of the whether “so help me God” is added to the oath/affirmation or the Bible is directly involved in the ceremony.
In the United States, the oath of office of the President is specified in the Constitution, Article II, Section I:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.
The use of a Bible or the added words, “So help me God” at the end of the oath, or in the acceptance of the oath are not required by law, however the historical debate and significance of such elongation and use of religious text (Bible) is ongoing. Abraham Lincoln finished his oath with, “So help me God” and kissed the Bible. In 1881, a New York Times article covering the swearing in of Chester A. Arthur reported that he responded to the question of accepting the oath with the words, “I will, so help me God”. Chief Justice Roberts prompted Barack Obama with the question following his oath, “So help you God?”, to which Barack Obama replied, “So help me God”. A Federal lawsuit ensued in the District of Columbia, filed by Michael Newdow on December 30, 2008, contending the second, current form of administration, where both the Chief Justice and the President articulated the oath, appending “So help me God”, to be a breach of the Constitutional instructions.
The phrase “So help me God” was prescribed by the First Congress for oaths under the Judiciary Act of 1789 for all U.S. judges and officers other than the President. However, swearing can be replaced with affirmation of office, but given that nearly every President-elect since President Franklin Roosevelt has recited the codicil, it is likely that the majority of presidents-elect have uttered the phrase (as well as some vice presidents, while taking their oaths).
This seems to give off a daunting impression that even though there is no LAW respecting the establishment of religion, there is really no need for legislation for something that already has managed to circumvent the 1st Amendment by cementing the impression that religion is respected by the highest office of the United States and that in respecting religion by stating “So help me God” after the oath of Presidential office, the need for legislation is trivial. There may be no respect for religion legislatively, but then again is there any reason to legislate what is already ingrained in the populace as standard to holding the office of President?
How can the 1st Amendment state that no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion when there shall be no law prohibiting the free exercise thereof? If there is to be no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, how can Congress pass legislation that directly disrespects the very establishments of religion to be protected by the amendment itself? If there is legislation that now disrespects and prohibits the free exercise of religion (as the tenants and doctrines prescribe), how can the 1st Amendment stand up to the duress it’s very constituents have assaulted? The legislation laid by the Affordable Care Act directly prohibits the free exercise of religion by the mandates required of religious institutions to cover those things that directly afflict with the tenants of their practice.
The 1st Amendment is being systematically pulverized and all the discussion about the preservation of the Constitution is a discussion not privy to our Nation alone or in our time alone. If Congress and the Executive powers that be are able to circumvent the Constitutional amendments set in place to protect the inalienable rights we have, what are we really accomplishing by pointing out the obvious? My take on the Freedom of Religion or the Freedom of Speech is really irrelevant to those who continue to usurp and undermine that which they swear/affirm to uphold by oath.
What say you? What are we going to do?
Peace and Love always.