Saturday, March 12, 2011

Freedom of Religion

  The Religious Landscape Survey reported that 78.4% of Americans claim Christianity as their religion.  Most Americans believe that America is a Christian nation, thus stated in the Constitution.  However, America was founded on the belief of religious freedom,  not on Christianity.

The following information was taken from religioustolerence.org

The first amendment to the
U.S. Constitution: Religious aspects

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

How the first amendment was written:

In the spring of 1778, the Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia, PA. They resolved three main religious controversies. They:
     Decided that there would be no religious test, oath or other requirement for any federal elected office.
     Allowed Quakers and others to affirm (rather than swear) their oaths of office.
     Refrained from recognizing the religion of Christianity, or one of its denominations, as an established state church.

Religious minorities frequently suffer a loss of freedom in those countries which do not have a wall of separation. Some extreme examples in the past decade have been:
      Laws interpreted as requiring a divorce if a husband writes a book that is critical of the     established state religion.
      Capital punishment as punishment for speech critical of the state religion.
      Capital punishment for those who change their religious faith, unless it is to the state religion.
      Laws originating in a religion that prohibited women from working outside the home.
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