What did the Framers of the United States Bill of Rights have in mind when they established, as part of the First Amendment to the Constitution, that the Government would allow the people of the nation to freely practice religion? By separating Church and State, the First Amendment aims to prevent Government-sponsorship of any one religious belief or the discrimination against another religious belief. That, at its core, is the meaning of the Religious Freedom clause of the First Amendment.
But the world has changed a lot since the late eighteenth century when those words were penned, and many seek to distort what is and is not religious freedom. Since the turn of the twenty-first century, a number of issues have come to light as mankind as a whole, but especially the United States, has advanced in its understanding of science, politics, economics, and social issues. These issues are defining humanity on a daily basis, and are serving as battlegrounds for the First Amendment and Religious Freedom in the United States.
One of the beautiful things about the U.S. Constitution – and why it has stood the test of time – is that it is open to interpretation. But there is little room for interpretation when it comes to something as simple as the words defining Freedom of Religion. This is a Fundamental Right, which, regardless of what society says, must be protected and preserved so that future generations of Americans may enjoy the same Liberty that has been handed down from generation to generation. If society wants to redefine something, then society may redefine that thing. But the Government cannot side with society on that subject if doing so will violate the Right of an individual or business to freely practice their religious beliefs.
The world is changing, just has it has changed little-by-little for millennia. But the U.S. Constitution has been established as the cornerstone of American Democracy, and with it the Freedom to practice religion. The world may change, but the simplest Rights that have been established and recognized for over two hundred years must not change. While the Constitution may be interpreted in other areas, Freedom of Religion is not one of those areas, and the separation of Church and State must remain an integral part of the fabric that holds this nation together.