Something that needs to be remembered when it foes to religious freedom in the United States, is that it applies to all Americans. The laws that sit before the legislatures of states across the country pending a vote which would allow a business to act on their religious beliefs or an individual to be treated differently based on their belief applies whether those people are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or Hindu. However, so many of these laws are being touted as “religious intolerance” instead of “religious freedom” The short-sighted nature of the opposition to these laws seeks only to dismantle the Religious Freedom this country has enjoyed since its founding over two hundred years ago.
True Religious Freedom stands for all religions. Yes, the United States is a primarily Christian country, but we enjoy the benefits brought by people of different faiths and belief systems, and all of that goes into making the U.S. what it is – a shining example of what is possible when people of different beliefs are allowed to commingle and build something great together. Without the different belief systems that make up the fabric of our society, we would be no different than other nations which force a specific set of religious ideals on the people, and do not tolerate any dissension from those beliefs. In the United States we have the right to practice our religion freely as we see fit.
Yet when we need to pass laws which guarantee the Rights that were guaranteed by the Constitution, we are losing something. The Freedom to practice Religion is something that sets us apart from a large part of the world, and that Right has been codified in the First Amendment. And that should be the end of it. But, as states, legislatures across the country are debating laws to confirm those Rights for individuals and businesses who wish for nothing more than to exercise their Constitutional Rights.
While it is good that these legislatures see that there is a lapse between what is guaranteed and what is allowed, the fact that these lapses exist pose a threat to the Rights of all Americans as they seek to exercise their First Amendment Rights.