Is freedom of religion impossible in the United States? One can make an argument that with the literally thousands of different religious groups in this vast nation, it will be impossible to please each and every one of them by allowing each person to truly practice their religious beliefs as they see fit.
One only need to look to the recent arguments for and against the redefinition of marriage in the United States to see an example of this problem. Without citing the First Amendment or the Constitution, the U.S. Catholic bishops make an argument against the Supreme Court decision that redefined what marriage is in the United States.
They cite Church documents and teachings on freedom of religion, and how defining marriage as anything other than what the Catholic Church teaches marriage is, violates the freedom of Catholics to live their Catholic faith on a daily basis.
But at the same time, many other legitimate religious groups in the U.S. have accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling with admiration and open arms. These groups see no problem with redefining marriage in the United States, and freely encourage their members to accept the new definition.
There is a third groups of religious organizations that remains indifferent to this matter. These groups do not speak for or against the topic, and simply want it to go away. They argue, rightfully, that it should be up to the individuals to make the decision, and government should stay out of it.
But who is right? Are the more conservative religious groups, led by the Catholic Church, correct with their holding to religious teachings on the matter? What about those groups that cite religious freedom as a right to do as they please, and accept the government intervention in the matter?
Not everyone can be right on this topic. Someone is going to get hurt by the government when it comes to religious freedom, whether it relates to marriage or crosses in a public park. The only thing that the Constitution and the First Amendment guarantee is that the government will not pass laws that violate a religion’s teachings.
And that is far from guaranteed in the twenty-first century.
The Catholic Church is right to cite its own teachings in light of government intervention on topics that relate to religion in the United States. By doing this, the Church divorces itself from U.S. law, and makes it entirely about freedom of religion.
Those religions that are more tolerant of the so-called rights of Americans to do what they want with the support of the government are not going to argue with Congress or the Supreme Court when it comes to matters of religious freedom, unless their freedoms are trampled.
The only thing that may be for certain is that in today’s America, freedom of religion is a distant thought for most people. The United States has become less religious as the millennial generation takes center stage, and they do not care to go to a place of worship or follow the doctrines of faith of the preceding generations.
The United States is taking a turn for the worse. Constitutional liberties and rights are being trampled in the name of “progress”, and freedom of religion has been battered the most.
What can be done about this? Those that still care about freedom of religion in the United States must hold to their convictions and continue to stand strong against the adversity placed against them by the government as it seeks to take away the rights that the Constitution has guaranteed for over two centuries.
Do not lose hope when it comes to freedom of religion. The government of the United States remains a fluid entity that changes every few years as we elect new people to serve the people. Remember, as we head into an election in November, that these people are elected to serve us, all of us, and that they only serve as long as the people are satisfied with what they are doing in office.
For anyone who holds dear to the tenets of a religious body, stand up for your religious rights in your daily life. Continue to live your religion on a daily basis in everything you do. And maybe, just maybe, the rest of the country will follow suit. And religious freedom will be truly restored in the United States of America.