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From the Kitchen Table


Freedom of Worship

by Peg Luksik
 


If you have been carefully listening, you will notice that when government officials now talk about religion and the Constitution, they refer to our guaranteed "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion". It's only one word, so it is easy to miss the change; but the difference between worship and religion is enormous.

Let's put it into sports terms.

Instead of freedom to root for your favorite NFL team, you will now have the freedom to cheer for that team.

That means that while you are in the stadium of your team during a scheduled game, you may cheer your head off. But once you leave the stadium, you may not display the team name or logo in any form in your school or in your workplace. You may not wear any clothing that includes the name or logo of the team to any public event. You may not engage in discussions with others about the merits of your team. You may not invite others to join you in becoming fans of that team. Any you may not compare the accomplishments of your team to those of any other team.

In effect, when you leave the stadium, you must leave your allegiance to your team behind.

Unfortunately, the situation is even worse.

The rules above only apply to the fans of SOME teams. So the fans of the Screaming Aardvarks are required to follow the rules above, while the fans of the Charging Platypuses are not only permitted to continue publicly supporting their team, they are given the ability to force Aardvark fans to participate in activities that will help the Platypuses.

Aardvark fans must attend seminars to learn about the merits of the Platypuses. They must attend at least one Platypus game each season or pay a fine. They must express their support of the Platypuses whenever asked about the topic, or face penalties. They must not, under any circumstances, do or say anything to convert anyone from supporting the Platypuses to supporting the Aardvarks.

That is freedom of worship.

You may participate in your faith inside the church building, but once you leave that building, you must leave your allegiance to your faith behind. And not only must you leave that allegiance behind, you must be willing to publicly embrace ideologies and practices that are exactly the opposite of what your faith teaches, or be penalized.

No sports fan in the country would accept such a situation. Can you imagine what would happen if the government took even one single step in that direction?
Yet that same government is working to create a situation in which those of us who live lives illuminated by faith are accorded fewer rights than the average sports enthusiast.

Freedom of worship is NOT freedom of religion. It is not even a part of freedom of religion because it requires believers to jettison their faith at the church doors. It is a travesty of the words in our First Amendment.

If we are to preserve the America we cherish, we must become as adamant as NFL fans in telling the government that it will not be allowed to take even one single step in that direction.


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