I often read the comments made in response to articles online. I am particularly interested in those made in regards to political issues. One of the great things about our country is our freedom to voice our opinions and influence our laws. There have always been differences and open discussions have often helped us find solutions that would benefit our society as a whole. While those discussions have not always been civil, the freedom to speak up for what we believe is one that has been long-cherished by most Americans. Recently, I have noticed that there is a growing effort to stifle these discussions by specifically attempting to deny Christians a voice in the public arena.
Separation of church and state is often mistakenly used as the reason some feel those who speak from a Christian perspective should not be heard. The phrase “separation of church and state” itself does not appear in the United States Constitution. The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In reality, silencing anyone is a dangerous act. Once anyone is silenced, the discussion is ceased and solutions become beneficial only to the few.
Everyone could do a better job. The anger and name calling exists on all sides and benefits no one. We all need to be willing to listen to each other. We need to be willing to accept that others have different beliefs and ideas. We are not under any obligation to agree or to support what someone else says, but we should treat each other with the respect we wish to be shown. People seek public policies which square with their own beliefs of what is right and wrong. That is true of everyone.
Ultimately, I think it’s important to remember if you are a part of silencing anyone for their beliefs, it may not be too long before you are silenced, too.
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