Freedom OF, NOT Freedom FROM …


We seem to have a problem understanding prepositions in this country.

Freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

Specifically, we have a freedom OF religion, not a freedom FROM religion.

This occurs to me each time someone has a problem putting a manger scene, or a menorah display on public property, like at Town Hall,        God forbid!

Will our eyes burn out of our heads if we see something that is not our very own rock-hard faith, agnostic “faith,” or atheist “faith”? Will a senior graduating from college have his or her faith waivered to such a traumatic extent, that rather than hold a baccoloriate service for FREE held in a church which, God forbid, displays a cross on the wall (and even if it is covered), decide instead to pay huge amounts of money at a civic hall, because this soon to be college student and their adult families need to be shielded FROM the religious beliefs out there?

Have our minds become so small and one-sided that we will be offended if someone says something we do not personally believe in? Evidently so. Our skin has become so thin in this country that a simple statement of what someone believes, is often attacked because someone else is “offended.” People lose their jobs now over such things. It seems we must have the group all think alike, come to a consensus, no individuals, and definitely no individual thinking. God forbid!

Oh, the outrage!

Above all else, we must be politically correct, but notice how this changes from year to year.

Really?

Should we change the name of the Red Cross, like we do in parts of the world that are run by theocratic governments, so in this country should be change the name to the Red Crescent?

Obviously we do not understand what freedom OF religion is.

Freedom is freedom, not oppression. We live in a land where freedom of religion, as well as freedom of thinking outside of the box, is encouraged. The last time this country had a Catholic politician run for the office of the president of the United States, it was John F. Kennedy. But he was a Democrat, and Republicans did not like that part. It seems now a Catholic is running for president, and it is OK because he is a Republican. Interesting.

When John F. Kennedy was running for president, according to Answers.com, he had to make a statement that basically said although he is a Catholic, he does not represent Catholics, or the Catholic Church. Perhaps Rick Santorum should be made to make a similar statement, and include that he will not represent the ultra Catholic Opus Dei special interest either. Women would not stand a chance in the political world, work force, or any other place.

In this country, we are founded on religious freedom, not a dogmatic rhetoric for a politician to use at his or her whim. When the founding fathers of this country separated themselves from England, one reason was they were separating from religious tyranny. If we really want to get to the bottom of what the founding fathers stood for religiously, perhaps we should promote the Masons, not the ultra Catholic – Christian right-wing of thought.

We all seem to enjoy the benefits of practicing our own religions in this country. It seems ironic to me, that this government in this country, stamps its feet down to the tune of separation of church and state when it doesn’t want to see Christian or Jewish symbols on government property, yet when it is time to choose a politician, they bring in a right-wing Christian focus. Is that what Jewish people want? Is that what Muslim people want?

Does anyone remember the Spanish Inquisition or the Crusades? Just wondering.

We want to live in a land of freedoms; freedom OF religion, freedom OF SPEECH (we need to get this one back), and FREEDOM FROM ALL RELIGIOUS TYRANNY.

It’s a sad day when we have to shield our eyes and ears so we don’t have to hear something we believe differently about. Rather than take offense at every difference, we should grow in heart and understanding and embrace our differences.

It is vital that everyone have the freedom to be able to worship the Divine Creator of All, or not at all, if that is their belief.

Perhaps our politicians ought to be people of integrity and honor and have a spiritual belief of their own, but not be priests and ministers with an agenda against other religions. And just maybe instead of calling each other “satan,” we can get on with fixing our country. That is simply the promologation of fear.

Everyone has to live by his or her conscience. My only point here is our interpretation of freedom OF religion to mean freedom FROM religion, which it is not.

By the way, I consider myself to be a Christian, a Catholic one at that. But I also believe Jesus came to teach us so much more than Rome allowed their flock to think some 2012 years ago, or so. It was very much a control thing then, and if we are not careful, it will be again.

Namaste

Bullying and The Value of Life


Bullying is dehumanizing, both for the person who bullies, and for the person being bullied. Unfortunately there is no age limit for bullying. It happens by and to students. It happens by

Alcatraz Prison

and to prejudiced groups of all ages, sexes, and social economics. It happens all too often in today’s work force by employers, who know they can push people more because they know jobs are so hard to come by, to employees who allow themselves to be bullied for fear of losing their jobs. Bullying happens face to face, while cyberbullying relentlessly continues online. What can we do to stop it?

Stand up to the bully.

This does not mean turning everything into a fist fight. First, be smart. If you are the student being bullied, no matter what the bully is telling you, tell your teachers, your guidance counselors, your principal, and your parents. Know that you are not alone. It is state law that teachers must report the bullying to their superiors. Schools are improving their programs to address this kind of attack on students. If it keeps happening, keep telling. Never give up. There are some things you can do for yourself, beginning with bolstering your self esteem.

Just because someone says something about you, does not make it so. You are made in the image and likeness of God. God does not make junk. God made you and you are perfect, just they way you are. You will not be perfect if…, or when … you are perfect now. You are a whole person no matter what sexual orientation you are, no matter what gender you are, no matter if you are underweight, no matter if you are overweight, no matter what, you are perfect they way you are, right this very moment. That is the second thing to know. Do not agree with every negative thought, word or idea that comes from a bully’s mouth. Just because someone says something negative does not make it so. Understand that there are people willing to help you.

I’d like to think that prejudices are a thing of the past, but they are not. We’d like to think we are so advanced these days, but sometimes I think on many issues we are still in the caveman era. There are many kinds of prejudices that play into the hand of bullying. The person bullying decreases in character development by bullying. Seemingly good people, even Christian people, with not so good intent, harm others psychologically by badgering them, instilling them with fear if they are not like minded people, whether it’s for gay rights, birth control, immigration, or any other difference in belief. Bullying makes people less human. Bullying makes people less spiritual. No matter what our religious belief system is, bullying is not the way to get the message out. Attacking someone’s character either privately or publically is not a spiritual practice. Can you see Jesus or Buddha now, diminishing a person by personal attacks? That would be a twisted and perverted belief system.

Lady Gaga went on twitter to say “Bullying must become illegal. It is a hate crime.”

Young people are not alone on the bullying front. Adults are also bullies and are victims of bullies. As sad as it is when young people get bullied, it is pathetic when adults get into the bullying game, and we do. It is pathetic because we should know better. Anytime we act out in ways that are beneath human dignity, we diminish our growth, mentally and spiritually. The first thing to do is the same first thing to do for a young person. Tell someone. If it is a prejudice hate crime, tell a police officer. If you are being bullied at work, go to your human resources department. That is what they are there for.

You have a right not to be bullied.

Bullies don’t really want to fight. They want to torment. They want to get their way. They have ulterior motives. Pure motives have nothing to do with bullying. Bullies are weak. They are vunerable. As more and more people, young and old, stand up and refuse to be tongue whipped by inferior, manipulating mortals, it will become easier to stand up for truth.

Standing up for truth, honor, and integrity does not have to be done viciously. Anger and hostility do not need to be present. We simply need to say what we need to say. Bullies know how to push emotional buttons. That’s part of the game. But if we can stay level emotionally, that will be one less battle they will have won.

You are a wonder-filled creation of God. You are filled with God’s spirit. You are not alone.

Namaste.