Saturday, July 4, 2015

Let Freedom Ring

Today is July 4th. The birthday of our country, and in 1776, the birth of a brave new
experiment in governance. A country of the people, governed by the people and for the people. No nation up to that time had ever attempted this type of government. For the past 239 years the United States has been the gold standard of democracy. 

Or has it??

Our constitution lays the groundwork for our government, while the amendments do the fine tuning. The first amendment is just one sentence long, but it covers so much ground. 
Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791.
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
The first phrase, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", allows us the freedom to believe what ever way we want. The government can not tell us what to believe, or how to believe. In fact we even have the freedom to not believe if we choose. 

Throughout our history, individuals, groups, and organizations have tried force our government to violate the first amendment by forcing their particular religious beliefs on others through laws. Laws that were based on certain personal religious views. Your beliefs are yours, and you have the freedom to follow them as long as they don't hurt another. 

This past week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can not intact laws restricting same sex marriages. Laws that are based on certain individuals religious beliefs. I will not take a side on this issue here. As someone who believes in our Constitution, I feel that the Court has upheld the first amendment by restricting laws that are based on certain religious beliefs being forced on others. 

Of course others feel differently about this, and I have no problem with that. It is part of what freedom is all about. As is often quoted, "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" (Evelyn Beatrice Hall, 28 September 1868 – 13 April 1956), The Friends of Voltaire)

Since the decision came out I have been following the quotes made by some of our Presidential hopefuls.
"If I become President, I just want to remind people, please don't complain if I were to put a Nativity scene out during Christmas and say, 'If it's my house, I get to do with it what I wish, despite what other people around the country may feel about it,' " Mike Huckabee said on ABC's "This Week."
I like Mike. Some of his thoughts are quite good. BUT we should remind him that IF he ever gets to the White House as President, his residence is only temporary. Why not decorate the White House, symbol of our great nation, for all of the religious holidays that our citizens celebrate?
Other 2016 GOP candidates, including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, also slammed the Supreme Court decision. If elected, he vowed to use the presidential "bully pulpit" to talk about the importance of marriage "for the survival of our country" — instead of combating global warming.
Does this mean Rick has found the cause of global warming? This seems like a real apples and oranges comparison. Comments like this are truly scary to me. 
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said he believed the GOP should back off the idea of pushing for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The proposal would never make its way through Congress, he said on NBC's "Meet the Press.” "It's a process that's not going to bear fruit," he said, arguing it should no longer be included in the GOP's platform.
Now, Lindsey seems to be making some sense here. It is time the Government stop trying to rule and run other folks lives. With so many other dangerous, possible disastrous situations both here in our country and around the world, it truly is time to move on.
Responding to the high court’s gay-marriage decision, the most mainstream among GOP presidential candidates – former Florida governor Jeb Bush – said, “Guided by my faith, I believe in traditional marriage.” (Mr. Bush is Roman Catholic.) But he also said: “I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments. In a country as diverse as ours, good people who have opposing views should be able to live side by side.”
Don't get me wrong here. I am not a Jeb fan (nor am I a fan of anyone else), but he may be onto something here. It is time we get back to loving and respecting each other. Quakers have long believed that we are to respect the beliefs of others. I also seem to remember the Almighty making these part of the primary, golden rules. 

Freedom. It is sometimes a double edged sword. But it is what makes our country great. 

Here's hoping everyone has a happy and safe 
Independence Day Weekend.

Grenville, letting FREEDOM ring!!!

LATE ADDENDUM- This just in:::::::
The Attorney General of the nation of Texass has announced that he will not force any County Clerk to a issue marriage license to same sex couples if the clerk feels it is against their religious beliefs. As usual, being a Constitutionalist, I have to agree. 
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
No one should be forced to do something that violates their religious beliefs. Of course this means that the clerk is not able to perform the duties of their office for which they were elected and get compensated for. 

A definite conundrum !!!! Now, if you were working at Mc Barfies, and said that it was against your religious beliefs to serve Big Yucks, what do you think would happen?????? You were hired and are getting paid to serve Big Yucks. As the manager who does not want to interfere with someones religious beliefs, what would you do????? 

Instead of violating someones Constitutional rights, I would replace that person with someone who had no problem serving the Big Yucks.
AH yes, the double edge sword again.

Happy Independence Day!!!!


Anvilcloud said...

It seems that at least some of the GOP are not totally out of sync, but as a group they scare me.

I really can't see how issuing a piece of paper (marriage licence) has anything to do with anyone's religion. I see it as an excuse only: an excuse to let someone be homophobic and bigoted. No one can tell me that it's anything like being an objector of conscience when it comes to taking up arms and killing.

Lois Evensen said...

Happy Fourth! I can't wait to exercise my right to vote in the next presidential election! We vote via absentee ballot from wherever we are - even at sea in oceans far, far away.

Gwen said...

Anvilcloud echoes my sentiments on the subject. :)

William Kendall said...

Happy Independence Day!

I just look at the current state of the GOP, and I shake my head. This is what's become of the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Eisenhower.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

Amen, brother.
:) m & jb

Emma Springfield said...

You make excellent points here. The one that I disagree with is your addendum. If people are required to obtain a license in order to be legally married and if the government is the only place to acquire that license the government is required, according to the Supreme Court ruling, to provide the license without any bias towards the couple. Each employee of the government is not an individual while at work. He/she is an agent of the government which is The People. As an agent of the government that person must separate his/her personal/religious beliefs from the legalities set out by The Constitution. Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. As an employee of the government that person cannot claim religious objections to anything. What the person believes away from work is their own personal decision.

Lady Jane said...

If you don't agree with the people you work for then find someone with your same opinion like Hobby Lobby to work for. If you like where you work then just do the job you were hired to do. I find the fact that most people are very mouthy today when it comes to issues to stir the pot so to say. Dang it, you can have a different opinion without starting world war 3. I grew up in a mom and pop grocery store where as a kid I would listen to Dems and Reps have discussions about their favorite candidates. Grenville would have fit right in. It was fun to listen to them all and I learned a thing or two. I don't see that in a lot of areas today. I see hate behind their opinions. I feel we have lost something somewhere along the line. Hugs, LJ

Limulus said...

Thank you all for your thoughts. And not a hateful one in the mix. Nor a forced opinion. As Lady Jane said, the tradition of debate, the give and take, and the open honest discussion of the doings of our country is what makes it great, and at the same time disdained by others. The freedom to have your opinion, whether pro or con, without the fear of retribution is a freedom that we must protect at all costs. As Voultaire is reputed to have said, " I may not agree with what you say, but will fight for your right to say it."

Anonymous said...

Freedom of religion doesn't give anyone the right to surpress anyone else and then blame the religion. If one works in any kind of service job one can't stop doing ones job just because one doesn't like the people one are required to help and then have the stomach to blame the religion!

So if they have problems like that they simply must find another job or become unemployed.

Have a great day!

Gill - That British Woman said...

hope you both had a lovely holiday weekend?

Emma Springfield said...

This has been a fantastic political discussion. And not one person called anyone else any names or belittled them in any way. Makes me so proud.

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