Letters to the Editor
As our forefathers came together to build this great nation, the inclusion of equal rights, and the separation of church and state were foundational to our government, as documented in our nation’s archives in numerous letters, including the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, both written in 1776.
The provisions were left out of the Constitution in 1787 for fear they would incite a revolt among the colonies. It was not until 1789 that a gutted Bill of Rights was written, excluding a large fraction of people. These people were not at all considered free men until 1862, did not become citizens until 1865, were not given the right to vote until 1869, and continued to live unprotected until the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act in 1965. From the start, ours was not the most perfect government, but the foundation laid by our ancestors still remains, and the building of a great nation has not ceased.
The debate is, if an owner of an establishment can use the services of any business within these United States, can he, based on his religious belief, deny that same right to his customers and employees? As was the argument in the time of our forefathers, whose right to freedom should be upheld? I, and many like-minded Americans, understand that it is essential to the preservation of our government that the right to freedom include all of mankind, and not only a selective few. For freedom without justice is not liberty at all.
Consider this. If we are to uphold a belief of a religion, whose religion and which belief? If we are to uphold only the Christian religion, which Christian beliefs do we uphold? No. Wisdom affirms that religion has no place in government. This is not to say that we cannot of our own volition stitch the best of our religion into the very fabric of our individual characters, returning the focus to where it need be, toward our inner-self.
For most assuredly, a business built within the boundaries of a nation is subject to the governance of that nation. In America, the protection of its citizens was written into law in order to prevent the oppression of one group over another. History is proof that men use religion for their own gains, and such gains have nothing to do with God.
Let us test the current campaign of the business sector to establish the right to discrimination through the use of well known religious bias put forth as religious freedom. Would Jesus really refuse to serve a homosexual? Did He choose to throw the first stone when the woman was caught in sin? Did he decide not to wash the feet of the man He knew would betray him? Did He teach us to hate one another? Did He instruct us to serve only those we believe are worthy? Whom did Jesus come to heal and serve? Did He believe that it is the Law, and not the Grace of God that saves?
I am a Christian who happens to be a member of the first Americans, and I would have no problem serving a member of the Ku Klux Klan. I understand that the government has an obligation to secure the rights of all people to be treated equally. I acknowledge that the government is not infringing upon my rights by exercising its authority to protect its citizens. Additionally, in serving a member of the Ku Klux Klan, I am in no way condoning his behavior; I am simply respecting the truths upheld by my country that Liberty and Justice is for all, equally, without preference or prejudice.
Finally, I cannot think of anything more private than how people choose to live their own lives. What we do in our homes, and as we go about our lives is personal and warrants the right to privacy, and the security of our liberties without the threat of deprivation of such liberties. As validated in the Declaration of Independence and adopted by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution in sections 1 and 5. For we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
P.S. The answers to the Jesus questions: 1) Luke 9: 51-96. 2) John 8: 1-11. 3) John 13: 1-21. 4) Eph 2:8-9. 5) Matt 6:20-38. 6) Mark10:45. 7) Matt 9:10-13.
Angel H. Clark-Hall