Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On the subject of Christianity and freedom...

One of the favorite verses (or, at least, one of his favorites to quote when we're arguing about the issue of statism!) of my cousin Will would have to be the first passage of Romans 13. He seems to interpret this as an endorsement of totalitarianism and the "mob rule" of 51% Majority Democracy. Realizing that we DO NOT live in a "democracy", but rather a Constitutional Republic", I tend to disagree with him quite often on this subject.

In my personal opinion, the constitution is the ultimate legal authority in this nation, and it is one of the greatest gifts my Almighty God ever bestowed upon me. It also trumps the decisions of every cop, district attorney, legislator, and judge...with the notable exception of when our federal legislature properly acts to modify it.

As such, this constitution has the final say, which gives me that warm fuzzy feeling inside when I disregard those who act OUTSIDE their lawful authority of the constitution...and, in my own opinion, the Bible is backing me up on this.

While I understand that this nation was founded by people who readily identified themselves as "Christian", I do not buy into the baloney spewed forth by and their ilk, who claim that this nation was founded as a "Christian nation". Simply put, history tells us it wasn't...and our founders had good reason for doing so.

Even within the basic general umbrella of "Christianity", under which I personally fall, there is a great deal of disagreement over beliefs once you get past the general observation that Christ is our Lord and Savior. My uncle's church physically demonstrates a belief and reverence toward Christ by drinking wine every Sunday, but my grandmother's church declares the mere act of drinking to be a sin. The list could go on, but I think you see where I'm going with that.

Our founders instituted a secular (read: NOT ATHEIST, NOR CHRISTIAN) government that allowed each person to worship as he saw fit. This was the entire purpose of the First Amendment's "Establishment Clause".

I am a taxpayer. I am an ANGRY taxpayer. I am what the IRS would (and probably has!) labeled as a "Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer"! As such, I hate to see my money being wasted on things that are prohibited by the constitution...mainly, because I hate to see an entire third of my paycheck being stolen from me before I eve get a chance to pull it out of that little envelope.

My anger toward unnecessary taxpayer expenditures run the gamut. Among the things I'm very upset about are unconstitutional aggressive wars, welfare hand-outs, "wars" against bumpersticker slogans like poverty, drugs, et cetera.

Also, there are public expenditures at our local level that fly in the face of the US Constitution, since the First Amendment has been incorporated to the Several States via the SCOTUS. Infringements of our rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of peaceable assembly don't typically waste money that wouldn't be spent while I do plenty of bitching about these infringements, I understand that they aren't really wasting money in most cases.

As far as the First Amendment goes, the infringement that seems to always seems to be costing the most money occurs when our right to religious freedom is stepped on. I am a Christian. Most of the people who actually take the time to read this also identify themselves as "Christian". However, even though people who claim Christianity as their religion may be the "majority" in this nation, they are not the ONLY taxpayers in this nation.

We all have a right to not be forced to engage in publicly-funded displays or endorsements of religion...yes, even if it's a "Nativity Scene" in front of city hall. I personally don't have a problem with that, nor do I honestly have a problem with any other religion's public displays, as it's not costing me money. What DOES cost money, however, are legal battles that get fought when people offended by government-endorsed public displays of Christianity are willing to take them to court.

Personally, I never really cared about the opinions of others, so long as it was simply an OPINION...and not something that actually affected my life. However, there are a good many taxpaying Americans who actually ARE offended by the notion of Christianity.

To put yourself in their shoes, I'll would you feel if your local city government decided that, instead of putting up a nativity scene during the winter holiday season, it instead allowed a Wiccan organization to put up a lighted pentacle in observance of the Winter Solstice on the courthouse lawn?

You and I both know that many otherwise decent Christians would, out of ignorance, start foaming at the mouth and organizing protests against such "devil worship"...even though every Wiccan I've ever had the pleasure of meeting followed a personal set of morals that is more "Christ-like" than the majority of Christians I know.

People love bashing the ACLU over the fact that they had the audacity to sue the federal government, in order to have a large and obtrusive cross removed from the gates of a US Military cemetery on grounds that it violated the establishment clause...and, yet, what these same people continue neglecting to mention is the fact that the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THOSE BURIED THERE ARE JEWISH!

Imagine if your husband, brother, or son were buried in a military cemetery that had a Muslim crescent and star emblazoned on the front gates? Would you feel like your constitutional rights had been violated?

The fact remains that our government is simply NOT permitted to endorse religion in any form or fashion...and, while a law may not have been passed that specifically endorses religion, TAXPAYER-FUNDED ORGANIZATIONS, AGENCIES, AND BUREAUS ARE ALSO FORBIDDEN TO ALLOW RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS, PRACTICES, AND/OR RECOGNITION AS A MATTER OF OFFICIAL POLICY. The reason for this, of course, is what I have been getting at since the early part of this boils down to our government forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for these agencies.

The moment a law is passed granting our government the right to tax a citizen or business, any organization or agency receiving tax dollars is prohibited from endorsing or officially recognizing any particular religion if one religion is shown preference over another.

This is, whether it suits our purposes or not, the LAW OF THE LAND. Our constitution is a gift from God, and we should respect it. Our religious beliefs belong in our churches, our homes, and our hearts. We are allowed to exercise our personal religious freedoms anywhere we choose, unless it requires taxpayer money to do so.

You wouldn't like it if views you didn't agree with were forced upon you, while being paid for with the taxes stolen from your paycheck, so please don't expect others to sit down, shut up, and smile as you force your beliefs on others while forcing them to pay for it. Our government, and everything it owns, is in reality actually owned by ALL American citizens...Christian or otherwise.

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