« Previous Story | Front Page | Next Story »

Freedom of Religion?

By Ken Poland
Opinion | May 28, 2012

COLBY, Kan. - Headlines reveal our Kansas Legislature had time and expertise to write a law that takes away religious freedom, but they couldn't get together to redraw our senate and representative districts. We are depending upon 'activist judges' to draw the lines. But we will leave no room for judicial discretion concerning religion! No doctrines or canons not referenced to 'Christian Theology' will be allowed! The next big test will be, whose theology will prevail.

Some will say, "How is Kansas taking away Religious Freedom?" When we single out a specific religious groups (e.g. Islamic) and make it illegal or unconstitutional to even mention their canons for reference concerning private contracts or guidelines concerning property, moral, or ethical actions, we are walking ever closer to the edge of the 'wall of separation between state and church'. Our courts, quite often, are called on to adjudicate differences of religious groups in how to dispose of properties.

Sometimes, it is hard to separate community property without someone thinking their individual rights are being trampled on. Some times our courts are called on to determine who has authority to draw up contracts and sign agreements, concerning real property for religious groups. Generally, all parties are allowed to present their side of the issues and why they think they should prevail. The court, then, has to weigh all the arguments, look at case history, constitutional limits and requirements, and, finally pass judgment. It is a messy and embarrassing way for religious groups to act. In fact, our Christian Bible indicates we should be very careful about relying on civil government authority to settle our differences. But, Christians, being human, in spite of some claiming an inside track on how to determine God's absolute will, have to rely on disinterested outside sources to settle their differences. Interpretation of ownership and authority is not the same for all divisions or denominations, within the Christian communities.

Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. As long as my religious practices do not infringe on your safety or welfare, you have no right to declare, by law, that my practices as invalid. Neither do I have the right to force you're subjection to my religious tenets. Our system attempts to defend minorities from tyrannical majorities and prevent minorities from controlling society. We are, also justifiably, committed to the protection of minors from neglect or abuse of their elders. We will not allow any religious group, Christian or otherwise, to practice rituals that endanger the lives or property of others. Why do we need to single out any single group by specific laws?

There is no mention of Christianity in the Declaration of Independence, Preamble to our Constitution, nor the Constitution itself. The Declaration of Independence makes reference to 'Nature's God' and to man's 'Creator'. Neither of those references are clear acknowledgment of Christianity. Those references can be attributed to many different religious dogmas. The Preamble makes no reference to religion, period. Article VI of the constitution plainly states that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. That doesn't make any exceptions as to whether they be tests verifying Christianity nor does it allow tests that reveal any particular religious affiliation. Neither the Christian Bible nor any other religious book is mentioned as a source of guidance.

All the claims of George Washington being a devoutly religious man or a Christian are pure fiction. He was a self proclaimed Deist. He never participated in religious ceremonies in the church services, where he attended, with his wife. That doesn't mean he had no morals or principles that would meet Christian standards. Many of those in politics or public service were Agnostics, Deists or, at best, nominal Christians. The majority of the general population in the late 1700s and 1800s were not active church members nor did they even make claims of being religious. That doesn't mean they had no moral or ethical standards. They simply were not self righteous individuals who claimed superior religious motivations for their behavior. Historical data indicates that the United States had a smaller percentage of its population that claimed or admitted religious connections than most of the Old World descendants of Judeo/Christian heritage. That may be a reflection of the power the established religious leaders had on the people in the Old World. The people feared the wrath of their religious leaders as much or more than they feared the wrath of God. The power of the church/civil government authority was absolute and final. Greed and lust for power by individuals reflected human nature, not the Gospel or example that Jesus taught.

Religious symbols and architecture reflected the power and influence of religion in most cultures, Christian or otherwise. It is true that the population of the United States was predominantly from Judeo/Christian cultures. The Bible was the most prolific book in print. That is not a reflection of society's individual commitment to the 'Written Word'. It reflects the incentive for religious leaders to make their information available to the common man, in spite of the Roman Catholic hierarchy's objection, for a period of time. As a result, the Christian Bible was the most circulated reading material available to the public. Thus, educators took advantage of this to make the poetry and prose of the Bible a part of the curriculum to teach literacy to their students. That definitely had an influence on society, but it was not a mandate or intention of the founding fathers of this nation. The Bible, today, with all its translations, is still the most published manuscript in print. But, sad to say, society is woefully ignorant when a quiz is given on Biblical stories and events. Intellectual knowledge of Biblical laws and stories is no test for Christian identity. Many of the most Christ like individuals among us cannot quote unlimited scriptures nor contribute profound theological religious arguments.

Our relationship to God is reflected by His Grace and our acceptance of Christ as our source of salvation. Not on our obedience to law or evidence of our good works. God does not judge us according to the mandates of government or religious authority. We are individually accountable to God, regardless of our heritage or religious affiliations. The only valid human test of our Christianity is in how we relate to our fellow man and attempt to meet his needs, both spiritual and physical.

Post your own comment here

Do you want to read more? You've only just scratched the surface at the Kansas Free Press. We have so much more to read! Nearly all of the pieces published here are timeless and relevant, regardless of when the articles were first published. To discover more, please take a look at our Table of Contents or go back to our Front Page.

Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links below (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press:

About This Page

This page contains just one story published on May 28, 2012. The one written previous to this is titled "'Skyrocketing' Tuition: What is Gov. Romney's Solution?" and the story published right after this one is "Both Indiana and Lugar Lost"

Our most current stories are always updated on our Front Page.

Other Archives

Interested in other topics? You may wish to poke around in our Table of Contents to find other sections and archives.

Do you want to explore pieces written by specific authors? You can find archives for KFP writers by reviewing our complete Directory of Authors and Writers here.

Recently Featured Stories

My Response As a Kansan to Jessica Valenti

Jessica Valenti has come on board The Nation magazine to fill in for Katha Pollitt as the feminist columnist while Pollitt is on leave to write a book. I've found reading Valenti's columns thought-provoking and insightful. She often takes …
Of Angels and God's Dogs

There might be a whole group of us out there--people who value our relationships with animals on a par with our ties to people. "Get over it--it was just a dog" does not resonate with us. Our society places …
Of Angels and God's Dogs

There might be a whole group of us out there--people who value our relationships with animals on a par with our ties to people. "Get over it--it was just a dog" does not resonate with us. Our society places …
Roots of the n-word

While N-word dialogue has slackened following Saline County Commissioner Gile's use of it recently, the word still has great power. So, let's look inward at the N-word. To reach a much deeper path to understanding, simply go to Ad …
Corporate Tax Reform

Basehor, Kans.--For an interesting twist on the corporate tax debate, look at Alan Sloan's opinion in the April 29 issue of Fortune Magazine. In all of the froth about corporate taxation, neither proponents of tax reduction, nor corporate critics, …

News and Opinion

Get Connected

See our FB page!
Subscribe for free!
[Feeds & Readers...]
Follow Kansas Free Press on Twitter, too!
Make Kansas Free Press your home page!

Journalists, sign in.

We're reader supported!

Whenever you use the specific links below to begin any of your online shopping, a portion of your sale goes directly towards the support of this site.

Tech Depot - An Office Depot Co.

Our sponsors help us stay online to serve you. Thank you for doing your part! By using the specific links above (clicking through from our site) to start any of your online shopping, you are making a tremendous difference. By using the shopping links provided on a Kansas Free Press page, you are directly helping to support the Kansas Free Press.

Thank you for your help!

Notices & Policies

All of our Kansas Free Press journalists are delighted that you are here. We all hope that you come here often, sign in and leave us comments, and become an active part of our community. Welcome!

Our writers are credentialed after referral to, and approval by, the editor/publisher of KansasFreePress.com. If you are interested in writing with us, please feel free to let us know here. We are always looking for Kansans who want to write about Kansas!

All authors here retain their own copyrights for their original written works, original photographs and art works. They welcome others to copy, reference or quote from the content of their stories, provided that the reprints include obvious author and website attribution and links to the original page, in accordance with this publication's Creative Commons License.

Our editor primarily reviews stories for spelling, grammar, punctuation and formatting and is not liable or responsible for the opinions expressed by individual authors. The opinions and accuracy of information in the individual stories on this site are the sole responsibility of each of the individual authors. For complete site policies, including privacy, see our Frequently Asked Questions. This site is designed, maintained, and owned by its publisher, Everyday Citizen Media. The Kansas Free Press, KansasFreePress.com, and Kansas Free Press are trademarked names.

© Copyright, 2008-2012, all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified, first by the respective author, and then by KFP's publisher and owner for any otherwise unreserved and all other content.