Thursday, January 19, 2006

Misunderstanding religious freedom

The Christian Science Monitor observes the anniversary of the 1786 Virginia Statute Establishing Religious Freedom with the observation that many Americans have an imperfect idea what "freedom of religion" means.

Dr. Haynes, who advises schools on these issues, offers a vivid example of the misunderstanding found not just among Christians. "American Muslims often tell me how much they appreciate the freedom to practice Islam the way they want to, which they couldn't do in their native country even though it was a Muslim nation," he says. "But then they say, 'What is this nonsense about the separation of church and state - why do we need that?' They don't understand that's why they have their freedom.

Ironically, both Christian and Muslim theocrat wannabes fail to understand that our American religious freedom is the reason that religion is taken more seriously here. When you have government-supported religion, then disliking or rebelling against one means that you wind up disliking or rebelling against the other at the same time.


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