Freedom of religion in the workplace, government and everywhere else: Part 2

(This a series explaining how freedom of religion plays a role in the constitution our government and our private sector, part 1 covers the basics of freedom of religion in the constitution)

In light of all these cases and the current supreme court decisions, explained in the other section, the problem now becomes that some of the rules that the Supreme Court have come out with have countered too far in the wrong direction on the fundamental purpose of desegregating religion and have instead used establishment clause as the abolishment clause of religion altogether. Along with that, the second clause of freedom of expression of religious rights has taken a serious beating.

When most people make the claim of “Separation of Church and State” it is usually an advocacy for the abolition of religion from the state altogether. However, that phrase was originally coined by the author of declaration of independence, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson’s intent was not to abolish religion from government.

His intent was to keep the federal government from making national decisions based solely off the justification that God said so even though someone might say otherwise. It was to open the gates of debate for religion and what is right and wrong from multiple viewpoints. It was not to close the religious gates altogether. What the U.S. Senate has to remind everyone of as well is that the Senate chaplain prays every morning on the Senate floor before the Senate party leaders come and give their daily morning speeches and debates and votes come rattling in. That is probably the one corner of the government where free exercise is still clinging on for dear life.

The way the constitution has implemented sustaining this clause has defeated its original purpose. Religion is essentially abolished in all sense of the word in public schools. There are no classes on it in public schools unless it references Medieval Eastern Europe or the original colonists. No one talks about it and no one openly debates the ideas of theology in the one forum where education freedom of thought should reign supreme.

There are many that have the mind-set that if you believe in a God you are logically challenged and ignorant. As a result, the rules that have been implemented to desegregate religion has made a religion of itself which is the religion of atheism. Also, the decisions made in public schools, what is taught in public schools or in government buildings are now made based-off of the principles of atheist thoughts and its idealism.

If any individual does assert their religious beliefs that they are entitled to under the second clause of the first sentence of the bill of rights, individuals will strike them to silence and conformity with the first clause of the constitution. So it is quite a paradox that two clauses in the same sentence that both mention religion are fighting against each other on whether or not religion is even a tangible palpable object or lifestyle sanctioned in this country.

Given that the government has spent most of its time trying to wrestle with the first clause and that it gets the most attention, the second clause, which is equally important is now just barely hanging in there as already mentioned. It is a hard balance for a human being to strike. How can a supreme court judge balance the two when a religious freedom case comes to their desk.

You can’t force someone to join a religion without their consent but you also can’t say you can’t express your religion. So how do you make a rule that doesn’t force others to believe one’s view-points and also doesn’t impose expression? Silence has been the answer so far but silence overrides the entirety of both clauses and the whole paragraph of all of those rights and essentially renders the clauses meaningless.

Just decades ago, many businesses would not be open on Sundays. That has now changed drastically. Businesses are now open 24 hours a day and on major religious holidays but some close for government holidays. As a result of this, and given the competitive nature of the job market, it is tough to 1. Find a job in the first place 2. Find a job that doesn’t make an individual work on Sunday.

Due to the higher ground that businesses have and that many employers are at the mercy of to make a living, many will balance the pros and cons, should I tell my employers I can’t work on Saturday or Sunday? The cons are, the person might not get the job and lose an amazing salary and job opportunity.

The pros are, they have the right to do so, without any other incentive except for just the will-power within that individual to adhere to what they believe is God’s will and self-justification. Perhaps maybe even a pat on the back from a relative. In light of that balance, the pros hardly ever prevail.

Even if someone did say they couldn’t work on Sunday and they were fired or demoted or not given a job offer, they would have to get an attorney and prove that the demotion or firing or job offer declination was due to their expressing their religious views, which is perfectly sound under the constitution.

In many parts of South America, things are different. The standards that the Supreme Court of the United States has implemented that has in a way helped lead the American culture toward the unification of atheism within the laws of the country have not yet seeped into the mainstream of most South American counterparts but is what Europeans have been practicing well before Americans.

In most South American countries, where most religions hinge around christian beliefs, Sundays in a downtown area is a ghost town. All the shops are closed-up and no one is driving on the streets even past 10 am. So the scale is tipped in the opposite direction on that side as far as sabbath day worship goes which one would argue then imposes on somebody else’s religion.

It is interesting to see cultures and how they start to morph and conform into one. No one wants to be an outcast. No one wants to be wrong. No one wants to be mocked or ridiculed. No one want to lose their job and no one wants to be behind on the bills.

The American society as a whole in the public sector and the private sector has made one expressing their religious beliefs and up-hill battle. The days of William Tyndale and Martin Luther have returned. However, lucky for us than it was for them, it is easier than it was for them to exercise that right. That right is on paper in the Bill of Rights.

The right to express one’s religious beliefs still exists. The right to debate theological ideas is still a concept. It should remain a concept and should be embraced instead of shunned. If someone wants to talk religion and debate religion in the break-room they should have that right. However, the punishment of banishment is still a real thing.

If someone feels like they shouldn’t work on Sunday, they should have that right without fear of not getting the job or promotion or salary. Businesses are still required to accommodate religious beliefs. Make them accommodate. Tell them what you believe. Tell them what you can and can’t eat, what you can and can’t say, tell them if someone has offended you and you took offense to what they said.

If the religious right is not exercised it will like any other muscle slowly weaken and lose any arm wrestle it will come against. If someone believes in something, they should be able to have the time to work and exercise that belief. They should be able to have time read and study their doctrine and rub shoulders with those that share their same beliefs.

The exercising of those rights have done much good in our nation’s history. Abraham Lincoln exercised those rights when he took oval office. He could have just given into the succession of the South and allowed them segregate from the North. Instead, he understood that the North needed the Southern religious thought as much as the South needed the Northern religious thought.

George Washington exercised those rights before he crossed the Delaware. Most religions teach altruism and thinking outside ones own self for a better cause. I’m grateful that Martin Luther King Jr. exercised those rights when he rallied the nation and taught people how to peacefully protest a law that he found unjust in his eyes and taught people based off religious principles how to protest a law as civilly as possible despite the mountain of burdens it might have felt on many individuals and many wanting to just lash out against the government in other ways for the way they were treated.

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