Copyright (c) 2012 Jim Ford
Religion for Business Owners
Here on American soil, the United States Government tells business owners that as business owners they have no right to express their religious convictions or to exercise their rights to hold true to their religious beliefs because doing so could possibly infringe on the rights of others. The United States Government basically tells business owners that religion cannot be allowed to influence their business if they are a "for profit" organization. On the other hand, there are requirements to allow personal religious practices by the employees.
The government rules that a business cannot be excused from complying with certain laws because of the owner's personal religious convictions. This can be seen clearly in the argument Hobby Lobby presented to the courts against compliance with a portion of the Affordable Care ACT. The stance from Hobby Lobby is that it is a Christian based business and that the requirement under the Affordable Care ACT to provide both birth control and the morning after pill violates their religious beliefs. The government on the other hand says that (as I understand it) Hobby Lobby will not be excused because they are a "for profit" business. To me, this implies that religious beliefs are not afforded to people who earn a living through the operation of their own business.
Do As I Say Not As I Do
What about our government? Our own government seems to have partnered with and established an embassy at the Vatican in Rome, and every president of recent history has made it a point to visit the Pope. At one point a United States President even hosted a birthday party for the leader of the Catholic Church.
The United States has also developed laws under Equal Employment Opportunity that tells business owners they must accommodate most requests from their employees to practice or follow their own religious beliefs, while telling the business owner that they cannot do the same.
Working with the Vatican
The Catholic Church, managed by the Pope and his team at the Vatican, has followers in nearly every country in the world and can have an enormous impact on world or local policy, both favorably and unfavorably. You can see why our government wants to keep relations with the Vatican. It seems that we have the office of the president and the State Department working closely with the Catholic Church leaders, while at the same time telling our lower branches of the government to remove all references to God from their offices.
While our government leaders are meeting with the most influential religious leaders in the world and praying with their personal ministers, they are also telling our children that they have no right to pray, even before a school football game!
Separation of Church & State
I know that right now, running through the back of your mind is something that has been driven into your head as a Constitutional requirement for "Separation of Church and State". I implore you to look up the United States Constitution, and go to the 1st Amendment. There, you will not find this requirement expressly written as many of you might believe. It reads, "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."
Originally, the 1st Amendment applied to laws made only by Congress, but a later Supreme Court ruling applied it also to the states. Basically, the state or federal government cannot promote any specific religion. The court, (Justice Hugo Black) chose to use the words of Jefferson, "government must be neutral among religions and nonreligion: it cannot promote, endorse, or fund religion or religious institutions."
With this statement, one might begin to understand that by removing "God" from government offices and public schools, the government is removing the support of religion, but not to me. First off, simply believing in, mentioning, or having a representation of God does not constitute a religion. In my mind, there is no specific religion supported or promoted by allowing "God" voluntarily into a public school or government office. I do however see that the government, by the act of forcing the removal of any mention of God from these institutions is supporting and promoting the specific religion of Atheism, or any other specific religion that teaches against the existence of God.
Telling those who believe in God that they are not allowed to express their religious beliefs, effectively promotes the religions that are against God. It seems pretty clear to me that this really should not be a very complicated issue. Any law that tells me I cannot practice my religion is by definition a law that breaks with the 1st Amendment (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof) and also breaks from Jefferson's words (government must be neutral among religions and nonreligion). In my opinion, by making a ruling against religion, we are no longer neutral, and we are prohibiting free exercise.
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