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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A little reminder...

A new bill is being worked through the Virginia lawmaking process to alter the wording of the state Constitution. This new wording would be added to the religious freedom section and would basically reemphasize the fact that Virginians have the right to free exercise of religion, that the government cannot force any religion or sect, or establish a religion, but adds the caveat that the people's right to express their religion, beliefs, or traditions as they choose on public property, to include public schools, shall also not be infringed upon.

I have been involved in more discussions on this topic than I can count, and I am almost relieved to see that someone in a position to have an impact is somewhat in agreement with me. Don't get me wrong- I am all for religious freedom and separation of church and state. I just finished reading a book about the Inquisition in England during the rule of Bloody Mary, and I can't imagine living in an environment like that. However, I am also truly of the belief that the Founding Fathers are turning in their graves over the way we have interpreted that idea in the last few decades. Whether people want to admit it or not, the basis of this country and all of our governing documents was faith. The reason people came here to begin with was to escape religious persecution. How can we say we are a religiously free nation when children get in trouble for participating in religious clubs or the morning flagpole prayer meetings, or are told they cannot wear their religious garb to school because it might offend those who are not part of their religion? Or when we let a person who has no faith win a lawsuit because he is offended by those who do?

I think that by allowing this reword into the Virginia Constitution, the state would be reminding people of the principles on which this country was founded. We are a melting pot. We are a mix of any and every culture and religion on earth, and we are proud of that. Why should we force people to suppress the very things about them that drove them or their ancestors to this country to begin with?

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