From the time of the Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution clearly stated that the Government will not interfere in the Right of the People to freely practice their religion as they see fit. This Freedom of Religion is a cornerstone of American society, and dates back to the time when those persecuted for their religious beliefs travelled from Europe to establish a new nation where such persecution would not take place. However, as time moved on into the twenty-first century, the definition of “Freedom of Religion” has begun to morph from the Right to practice religion on a daily basis in one’s daily life, to simply a right to worship as one sees fit.
But for most deeply religious Americans, the religion that they hold so dearly is a part of their daily life. Many Christians do not cease to be Christian when they leave their place of worship, just as many Muslims apply the Koran to their day-to-day activities. Yet, we continue to see examples of Americans being persecuted by the Government that has sworn to uphold the Constitution and the Religious Freedom it so clearly affords to all Americans.
With laws that have been passed in recent years, the U.S. Government has made it clear that it, not the individual, is in charge of what Freedom of Religion means in the United States. With taxpayer dollars going to agencies or funding programs that many religious people are morally opposed to, the Federal Government continues to overstep the boundaries that have defined the separation of Church and State for over two hundred years in a nation that has always stood for Freedom in all aspects of its citizen’s lives.
If the United States wishes to demonstrate to the world what is possible when there is a clear distinction between Religion and Government, the Government needs to refrain from establishing laws that blur the lines between Church and State. When laws are passed that prevent people from practicing their religion in their daily lives – as those people see fit – the United States begins to demonstrate that it is no better than nations around the world where the practice of religion is dictated by the government.