What is More Important than Religious Freedom?
Costa Mesa, CA
There is an awful lot of sentiment out there that government entanglement with religion is of little or no importance. I wrote an essay explaining why this IS of ultimate importance, and wanted to share these ideas.
Amendment I of our U.S. Constitution reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Article VI, Section 3 reads:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
There is reason the first idea of the First Amendment protects the free exercise of religion by individuals, and prohibits religious establishments by the state.
Religion is that part of the mind which is most amenable to individual liberty. Since religious ideas are non-testable, idiosyncratic, unlimited in variety and scope, creative constructions and flights of fancy, they represent the freest expression of the human mind -- unfettered, as they are, by any demands of proof, probity, rationality or demonstrable link to the material world.
The freedom to believe as one will regarding unseen divinity represents the ultimate freedom of the human mind and the final imprimatur of the nobility and independence of personal autonomy. The man or woman who is not free to enliven an entirely individual relation to divinity, whatever that relation may be, cannot be considered free.
It is the unique mark of a free people which allows and encourages individual personal constructs in matters of faith: to the extent the individual is forced into political norms regarding the Ephemera of divinity, this is a measure of social repression.
Since no proof of the nature of divinity can be proffered in a court of law, religious repression is repression of the purest sort: mind control for the sole and unfettered purpose of controlling a free mind. In short, religious freedom is the measure of all freedom: where religious freedom exists we find free and unfettered thought; where it does not, we find drudgery, convention and enslavement.
The Founders knew that linking religion to government law and ordinance was the surest method to promulgate the enslavement of the human mind: this is why they forbade all entanglement. When the government tells its children "You are under God," or "You must trust in God," these are shackles devised solely to keep growing minds away from independent thought and enslaved by a social order set up by the government.
The government has no proof of where God is; whether we are under, over or beside God; or that God even exists at all. It has no proof that God requires any trust. Since there has been no proof of God presented in any court, these strictures are nothing but thought-control of the most egregious kind, demanding fealty to that which cannot be proven or seen. They are brain-killers which tell individuals not to think for themselves: such is the message of religion in government.
And you say government establishment of a national deity in its mottos, pledges, oaths and coinage is of little importance?
It is of the highest
significance and import, as the Founders understood, for a people who strive to