Thursday, September 29, 2011

When did freedom of religion become freedom to only practice a Christian religion?

I received one of those chain emails, only in this case there is no "bad luck" if I don't forward, instead apparently I am a traitor? Really?

In 1952 President Truman established one day a year as a "National Day of Prayer."
In 1988 President Reagan designated the First Thursday in May of each year as
the National Day of Prayer.
In June 2007 (then) Presidential Candidate Barack Obama declared that the USA
"Was no longer a Christian nation."

This year President Obama canceled the 21st annual National Day of Prayer ceremony
at the White House under the ruse Of "not wanting to offend anyone"
BUT... on September 25, 2009 from 4 AM until 7 PM, a National Day of Prayer FOR THE MUSLIM RELIGION was Held on Capitol Hill, beside the White House.
There were over 50,000 Muslims in D.C. that day.


I guess it doesn't matter if "Christians" are offended by this event -
We obviously don't count as "anyone" anymore.

The direction this country is headed
should strike fear in the heart of every Christian,
especially knowing that the
Muslim religion believes that if Christians cannot be
converted, they should be annihilated."

I have removed most of the formatting that was supposed to show emphasis on their points, because almost all of this email is either an outright fabrication, gross exaggeration or a purposeful misquote.

I am not going to go line by line, as I will put the two websites, Snopes and, that debunk this trash.

Here are the highlights though:

There was indeed such an event, it was NOT held at the While House, nor was it sanctioned by the White House. Rather it was lawfully permitted and held on public grounds, at the West Front of the Capitol.

Pres. Obama did not cancel the National Day of Prayer, held in May of 2009, though he did call for people of all faiths to pray. What he did do was not hold a service at the White House. In his inaugural address he said: "For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus and non-believers."

What is important here is to recognize what he did NOT say, the email states that he said we are no longer a Christian Nation. This is not what he said. One sentence in Obama's prepared remarks for his keynote address at the "Call to Renewal" conference sponsored by Christian Sojourners in 2006 read as follows:

"Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers." (2)

Why is all of this important?

The National Day of Prayer has always been addressed to peoples of all faiths:

In 1983 Reagan’s proclamation was very much inclusive “Revived as an annual observance by Congress in 1952, the National Day of Prayer has become a great unifying force for our citizens who come from all the great religions of the world. Prayer unites people. This common expression of reverence heals and brings us together as a Nation and we pray it may one day bring renewed respect for God to all the peoples of the world.” (3)

But under George W Bush (JR), it became an event focused primarily on Evangelical Christians, in fact the National Day of Prayer task-force requires volunteers to agree and sign the following statement:

“A volunteer must be an evangelical Christian who has a personal relationship with Christ. I acknowledge that I am working for the Lord Jesus Christ and the furthering of His Work on earth and agree to perform my work with the highest standard of Christian faith.”(3)

So why am I bothered by this? Well first of all we are NOT JUST a Christian Nation, nor have we ever been. Our Constitution is based on the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation. Our country was founded by people fleeing from political and religious tyranny and persecution. People, who did not have the right to speak, worship or hold political ideals separate from the government/monarchy. Even our Pledge, written in 1892, did not include the words "Under God" till 1954. (many use the pledge as proof that we are a Christian Nation).

But what bothers me most is the underlying sense of discrimination and hatred for those who are not Christian. It spread untruths and exaggerations meant to inspire fear. Coupled with the subtle message that if I do not forward it along, than I too am a traitor.

I am not Christian, nor am I Muslim. I pray every day. Who I pray too, frankly, is no one's business, especially not the government.

The person who sent this to me knows this. I felt violated, like something ugly had invaded my home. I love her; we've been friends for a very long time. Granted our politics are different, but that is alright. She's sent me things in the past that I agree with and have said so; she has also sent me things that I did not agree with. I said nothing and deleted it.

But this is different. This email made me feel uncomfortable, it gave me a small frisson of fear, and it made me pause for a few days before I felt I could say anything.

The end of the article cites how 'Muslims' believe that non-believers need to be killed. Certainly there are fanatic factions that believe that, but the majority of Muslims do not.

There are also Christian fanatics that believe if they cannot convert you, then you need to die. They are called Dominists, and Christians will tell you these people have perverted the Word of God to their own ends. (5)

NeoWayland has a very interesting list of many groups who also qualify to be called Dominists, Christianity does not hold the patent on it:

"Here's where I diverge from many Pagan friends and acquaintances. See, I have this simple idea that if the Christian Dominists are bad because they want to impose their beliefs on everyone else, then so are all the other Dominists. Including all the ones I didn't list here.

Pagans are quick to denounce the Christian Dominists, but not so quick with the others. But if you let one get away with their agenda, the others will inevitably rise from whatever trash bin we tried to consign them to. You can't defend your rights from one group, sign them away to the next group, and still expect to be protected next week.

Christian Dominism is wrong not because of its origins, but because it seeks to remove choice. The same is true with all the other varieties. Just because you may agree today doesn't mean that is the one you will have to live with long term.

We best protect our own rights by protecting the right of others to choose. Even if we think their choices are bad."(4)

Even if we think their choices are bad! That is what this country is founded on.

I've written far more than I originally intended, I guess that just shows just how much this bothered me. I've found the older I get, the more centrist my politics become. I tend to see the other sides POV. My grandmother, a lifelong Democrat, would roll over in her grave if she knew I now vote for the person I believe best suited for the job. I don't care what religion our President practices as long as he does not attempt to make me practice it as well.

I don't care who you pray too, as long as you don't demand I pray to the same deity.

What I do care about is people who believe that by spreading lies and fear they can convert more folk. Or frighten them into going along.

Evil triumphs when good people do nothing.


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