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The Controversies Around Religious Freedom in The United States

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Freedom of expression and speech go hand and hand with religious freedom and when it comes to religion we must keep in mind we have to respect people’s choices they make especially when that choice correlates with their religion and we must accept we can’t all agree on something like religion. In our U.S. Constitution, we have our first amendment and in this amendment part of it has to do with our freedom of religion. For us, freedom of religion can be defined as being able to follow one’s own beliefs without the fear of being criticized by either the government or the people around us. Although the majority of people believe that equality is more important than religion, we still have to keep in mind that everyone has their right to their religion and that they don’t have to change themselves for the benefit of others. A restaurant can choose whether to welcome same-sex couples in or not and a business may choose to offer their service to this same couple or not. In either of these situations, it all comes down to the person’s religious beliefs and values.

From one’s research, it can be noted that republicans, at least in religious freedom terms, stand for the freedom of expression, or the 1st amendment. They protect the right of religious institutions to not perform marriages or serve people that disagree or go against their belief system. Overall, when it comes to Republicans versus Democrats, it will always be Republicans that stand poor people’s religious freedom meaning that they support what choices people make according to their believes and don’t question it because it’s their right to do so.

A republican known as Rand Pual has stated that he thinks America is in a ‘religious crisis’ and also adding to it he said, ‘ Not a penny should go to any nation that persecutes or kills Christians,’ probably referring to all the violence that has been taking place against Christians. In some regions, the number of killing of Christians has been so bad to the point of almost being on a genocide level and the religion becoming at risk of disappearing in these same regions. Religion is something that is believed to be needed in society and of one religion, Christianity, for example, were to disappear then eventually there will be a new religion that is created that might have the same beliefs as Christianity. Of course, this is just a prediction that has been made by some people and it does make sense that if something disappears eventually it’ll find its way bad.

President Donald Trump stated during the UN Summit on September 23, 2019, “Too often people in power preach diversity while shunning or silencing the faithful, true tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs’. During this assembly, Trump brought to light about how there’s been so much crime that’s been taking place dealing with religion and how he wants to stop all the prosecution. He believes he can stop religious persecution by allocating $25 million to protect religious freedom as well as religious sites and artifacts and launching an initiative with business leaders to shield religious freedom in the workplace from discrimination.

When it comes to a person, a restaurant, a clothing store, or any type of business shunning out people or other businesses because of their religious believes it’s understandable to see as to why they wouldn’t break it because they have the right not to. Although most democratic may stand against this statement they should take into consideration that when cases like child welfare versus a same-sex couple wanting to foster children being dined that chance, the child welfare can do that by law due to religious beliefs.

In some states, the government is supposed to protect the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination, not let the discrimination continue happening. As Kristy Dumont starter when they were denied the right to foster a family, ‘ they didn’t get to know us at all. It was just one little thing – that we’re two women together – and that was it.’ The welfare business didn’t bother interviewing them or at least hearing them, Kristy and her wife Dana, out. They are trying to help raise children in need of a family, even if it’s temporary until they find a forever home. According to US government data, about 438,000 children are in foster care on any given day, this statistic alone should be enough to show that they need all the help they can get so denying Kristy and Dana Dumont isn’t that great of a choice.

In this next example, there is a case that involves Brush & Nib Studio versus the city ordinance of 2013, which was simply a law that protected sexual orientation, gender identity or expression from discrimination. When Joanna Duke and Breanna Koski denied creating custom invitations for same-sex marriage. They both immediately noted that the ordinance violated their freedom of religion and took it to court. They did come out with a loss but were still hated on for discrimination. ‘A core tenet of our nation is freedom of religion but freedom of religion does not mean freedom to discriminate,’ said the mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego. She also added, ‘If you serve someone in your community, you should serve all people in your community’ (Johnson, Maxouris). This business had no place to set camp in Phoenix where they knew something like this could happen.

Separating church from the state can be extremely difficult nowadays, with all these laws and restrictions that are put in place. Both sides have their own part of the story that fits their benefit and to show that they are in the right. Yes in the U.S almost everyone has the right of religious freedom however it’s to some extent. Some states have different laws from others, some may allow for a business to stand with their spiritual belief and others may sand against someone doing such a thing. One should stand for their religious beliefs but then there’s also the chance of the backlash it could result in. People don’t enjoy being discriminated against but people also don’t enjoy having their right to spiritual freedom be violated.

Given these points, controversies about religious freedom have been occurring for as long as the bill of rights came to be, however, discrimination was also a very big issue and still is today. Even though these both topics accord to each other and are equally as important most of the time discrimination the one that gets an extra vote or wins with flying colors. Religion is a very important aspect of life because for some it literally is their life but as time has passed religion is still very important but not as much as it used to be. Especially with the upcoming generations, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to continue to be a part of many people’s lives. Neither Republicans nor democrats like discrimination, but different types of discrimination. Republicans are against the discrimination of religions and democrats are against the discrimination of one’s gender, ethnicity, race, etc. and in the end, it’s democrats that will win this battle. 

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