Pluralism may achieve many things but neutrality is not one one them. Someone's world view will be dominant. This is inevitable. After listening to her history professor's opinion that Christinaity is responcible for most of the world's problems--(ignoring the examples of atrocities and injustices commited by secular, pluralistic, and atheist societies)--may she then rest asure that religious bias has been succesfully purged from her education? After listening to his commanding officer explain that "sharing your faith" is inappropiate, ignorant, immoral and not allowed in the military--might he be a tad confused on the meaning of coercion? The point being is that a bias and some coercion is unavoidable--let's begin our look at this policy by admiting this truth, instead of patting our backs and saying neutrality has been achieved. Religion, pluralism, and silence share one thing--they all bring a bias. Let us work for a balance. Our public domain must not become (evole into) a Religion Free Zone. Thank you and God Bless
Whether a spirituality becomes is "dominant" or not is not the issue. The idea that we can maintain a non "dominate" sprituality by maintaining silence in public and restricting expression, contradicts itselt--since not even silence is neutral. Even Atheist states maintain a spirtual "dominace" they demand of their entire population. Do we have the right to practice religion, including its publically required aspects, or is freedom of expression and religion now restricted to ever increasing government approval? To millions of Americans "sharing your faith" is not inappropriate, immoral or should be illegal and using government power to say or inply that "sharing the faith" is inappropriate, immoral, or illegal is coecion...we do not achieve neutrality. In regard to the military, if rank is the dividing line--than any private or seaman is allowed to evangelize everyone in the military--while the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff cannot evangelize anyone in the military? A Cadet can invite her classmate to a religious gathering how many times before it becomes a criminal violation (or subject for dismisal or discipline)? How many times may a U.S. Air Force academy cadet or professor advance the idea that "sharing your faith" is culturally insensitive" (perhaps even racist) before it becomes harassment? The policy does not make sense, it is inconsistent, over reaching, and will be used to silence the free speech and religious liberties of American military personnel. Thank you and God Bless!
Good points, but my fears remain. If silence was capable of achieving neutarlity the case for absolute silence would be valid--but silence speaks volumes. I agree government representatives can not use their position to endorse a particular spirtuality. The Soviet goverment assigned "political officers" to its military units to make sure compliance with radical socialist principles was being maintained. Does the United States military now need religious watch dogs to determine if the Coastie Ensign's invitation to his home Bible Study was made off or on the Cuttter or base? If the Ensign is deployed on a high endurance cutter for months (I know they are being phased out) and wants to have private Christian devotions on Sunday is this now strictly forbidden? May he ask his shipmates to pray for his sick little girl back in Ancourage? May he say, "God Bless you." as he delivers a half drowned, freezing fisherman back to his wife? May he attend religious services while wearing the uniform of a United States Coast Guard ensign? The policy is over reaching...this is a dragonian apporach that will trample on rights not to mention common sence. When General Eisenhower issured his prayer for the success of the Nomandy landings, or when General Patton had his Chaplain, write and distribute, a prayer, so that the weather would soften and the 3rd U.S. Army could advance...they did not achieve neutrality in regard to religion...but neither do we when we demand absolute, carte blanche, no exceptions silence! Admitedly, there are religious groups that are trying to use the U.S. military to their advantage---but there are also secular groups trying to use the five branches of the U.S. military to help "seperate," not just the State, but the entire American public domain from religious participation/expression. A uniformed cadet at the United States Air Force Academy does not violate the first amendment by asking her classmate to attend a seminar...sponcered by the Muslim student Union, Spirit's Fire Pentacostal Church, the Wiccan sisterhood, the Dominicians for social change, the Main Street Church of Christ, or Focus on the Family. When I was a little boy, I had a lot of medical crude going on, I can remember a United States Marine Corps officer praying for me beside my bed, and saying God Bless, when he left. He and the other U.S. Marines always wore their uniforms, while visting the kids in the children's hospital. Did these kind United States Marines violate the U.S. Constitution? Ridiculous! This policy is over reaching, dangerous and needs to be re thought! Thank you and God Bless!
Let us work hard to find the balance and not just shut down religious expression in the public domain. For instance a loud church service disrupts the general public, in response, the city passes a law that makes loud gatherings of a religious nature subject to fines and being shut down. A famous evangelsit or a loud Christian rock band wants to use the city auditorium, sports stadium, or its church for an event--a secular group opposed to religion, and desiring religion be kept strictly private-- sues the city citing the new law. The law is "overreaching" to the point of violating other foundational American freedoms. Consider a Christain U.S. Coast Guard ensign using his deployment to Iraq, for port security as a platform to evagelize the Muslims. This may put American lives in danger, and may require some restrictions. However, using this same policy when a Christian U.S. Coast Guard ensign wants to invite his shipmates to his Bible Study or church service--wheather stationed in Iraq for port security or Alaska for air sea rescue becomes overeaching. He is discouraged to make the invitations since his superiors have received instructions (citing the new policy) that all religion "recruiting" is forbidden while on duty...thus the policy becomes overreaching. Coercion works both ways. Will the Coastie ensign's wife be able to sponcer a ladies prayer group back in Maine, if it includes other military personel? The American public domain, including the military is not a religion free zone! We must find a reasonable balance and not just accept a potentially overreaching mandate. Thank you and God Bless.
Thank you--I too am concerned about religious bullying. No one wants to see a Carte Blanche religious test applied to American Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coastguardsmen or Airmen--in the same spirit neither should there be a Carte Blanche prohibition (bullying) to silence the public expression of American Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Coastguardmen, or Airmen when that expression is of a religious nature. The American public domain, even military, is not a Religion Free Zone. Let us work hard to find a balance. Thank you and God Bless!
Has “Separation of church and state” now evolved into “Separation of church and the general public?” Silence does NOT establish neutrality. A slant is inevitable. When the Soviets silenced messages they opposed they did not establish neutrality! The right to “Preach to the choir” and the right to “Preach to no one except the choir” are two very different rights. Americans enjoy Freedom Of Religion and not The Freedom To The Private Expression Of Religion. Religion is far too multi dimensional to be restricted to private expression alone. Somewhere between religion being imposed upon the entire populace, and the public domain being declared a Religion Free Zone is America’s high standard of Freedom of Religion.. Let’s protect this right, before we lose this right. Freedom of religion—it’s not just a private thing, because it cannot be just a private thing! Thank you for allowing me to be heard
Has “Separation of church and state” now evolved into “Separation of church and the general public?” Because not even silence is neutral--a slant is inevitable. Demanding silence does NOT establish neutrality! Think about it... The right to “Preach to the choir” and the right to “Preach to no one except the choir” are two very different rights. Americans enjoy Freedom Of Religion and not The Freedom To The Private Expression Of Religion. Religion is far too multi dimensional to be restricted to private expression alone. Somewhere between religion being imposed upon the entire populace, and the public domain being declared a Religion Free Zone is America’s high standard of Freedom of Religion.. Let’s protect this right, before we lose this right. Freedom of religion—it’s not just a private thing, because it cannot be just a private thing! Thank you for allowing me to be heard and God's mercy and blessings to all!
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