Friday, July 4, 2014

With Liberty and Justice for All...

Happy Birthday America.

You are beautiful, you are one of a kind and you are strong and powerful.  I would even go so far as to say that at 238 years old you are aging gracefully.  Liberty, despite the rhetoric and the theatrics of some, is still running strong through your veins.  The old bones and organs don't move as smoothly as they once did, the old colon (Congress) gets backed up a bit and could use a good flush but overall I would say you are doing pretty good for your age.

I think that today on your birthday it is important to go back and look at your birth...and even further beyond that to your origins.  To often we spend so much time looking at our present woes and future plans that we forget where we came from.

Today your citizens seem to think you were born from a momentous need to escape taxes and have gun gun rights.  Your parents (the Founding Fathers) are attributed with so many things that it is hard to keep up with what they said and did and what they didn't.

Sometimes we forget that the nation we love may celebrate its birth date on July 4th, commemorating the day our Founding Fathers signed your Declaration of Independence in 1776, but the reasons for your existence go further back before that.

Your origins, your birth, goes beyond the right to bear arms and beyond the onerous burden of taxes without representation.  Your birth goes back to a group of people, tired of being oppressed by established religion and wanting to be free to practice their own faith and beliefs.  Now, even that concept has been twisted around from what your parents originally intended.

The misconception about religious freedom is that people seem to somehow contrived an idea that humanist government wants to take away their religion and that is what our founding fathers were trying to protect this new nation from.  They point to the pilgrims as heroes fighting a cause against humanism and faithlessness that were determined to stay true to their god and to their faith.

There is only one problem with this view.  It is false.  It is a lie.

The truth is that with the Roman Catholic Church on one hand and the Church of England on the other, these brave men and women were not allowed to exercise their faith and beliefs without being persecuted and murdered by the predominant faiths of Europe.  Stop and think about that...they were running from other religious people that were using the government to enforce their views on others.

Not a communist, socialist, humanist government.

From other churches. Other faiths.  Other religious beliefs.

Let that sink in.

That is why the words "under God" have no place in our pledge of allegiance.  Our birthright is not to be forced under a specific faith or religious belief.  Our founding fathers never intended for us to be born under a specific faith or religion.  They never intended for us to be born under a state protected faith or religion.  They always intended us to be free to choose.  In a real sense we were to be born to a birthright that was Freedom from ALL religions so we could have the right to choose the one that was right for us.  The Pilgrims understood this...

The Puritans did not.  You do know your history enough to understand the difference right?  The Pilgrims that landed in Plymouth understood that religious freedom meant freedom from any specific form of religion so that you have the right to choose your own.  The Puritans that ran New England and were the leading face of Young America in 1776 held to a slightly different view that freedom was in THEIR religion.  There is a key difference there and throughout the decades and centuries the gap between those two views has formed a chasm that is dividing our nation.

I am an atheist.  But I respect every individuals right to choose their faith and their religion.  I adhere to no faith and no religion and I believe the day will come when mankind will evolve and move beyond the need for crutches and pacifiers but that does not mean I do not acknowledge the key social role played by religion in society as it is now.  But I digress...

The point is that religious freedom is not about freedom "under god" is about freedom from religion, from any specific gods, so we all have the right to choose our own.

What the Roman Catholic, activist, Supreme Court did this last week was Puritanical and was not an understanding of what the true founding fathers of this nation intended.  The passengers of the Mayflower understood the need for there to be no preferential treatment, no protection and no promotion from government for any specific view or belief of religion.

Now let me be clear, I do not mean to say that the Pilgrims would have supported birth control, the morning after, LGBT civil equal rights or abortion.  Not at all.  They still held to the same "Christian" views and would have still believed them.  I just don't think they would have used their faith and religion to control the rights and beliefs of others.

So today we celebrate your Birthday America...but we also mourn another part of your beauty that has been killed and destroyed by your citizens.  No you are not dead, you are not dying and you are still beautiful...but like the death of innocence of our children, and the loss of something valuable of a friend or family...we mourn the poor judgement of those that do not understand you and would violate your trust and violate your nature just to promote their own views.

Happy Birthday America.

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag

Of the United States of America

And to the Republic, for which it stands

One Nation,


With liberty and justice for all.



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