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Welcome to the Tuesday Coffee Hour here on Street Prophets. This is an open thread where we can hang out and talk about what’s going on in our worlds. I thought it might be interesting to talk about Freedom of Religion today.

While the conservatives talk a lot about freedom of religion and bemoan the persecution of Christians, I thought it might be interesting to look at this from a Native American viewpoint. It is often said by Indian people that the Europeans invaded this continent looking for religious freedom and that in finding this freedom we lost ours. From an Indian viewpoint, freedom of religion has meant that Christians have been free to impose their religion upon us, but we are not allowed to practice ours.

In 1805, Seneca chief Red Jacket responded to a Christian missionary’s proposal to convert his people:

“You have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.”
He went on to say:
“We are told your religion was given to your forefathers and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers and has been handed down to us, their children. We worship in that way. It teaches us to be thankful for all the favors we receive, to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.”
He told the missionary:
“Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion or take it from you. We only want to enjoy our own.”
How do you feel about Freedom of Religion in the United States today?

This is an open thread: feel free to change the subject and talk about the things which are really important to you, such as: What’s for dinner?

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 01:06 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Freedom to practice the religion (9+ / 0-)

    of one's choice, or not practice any religion, is an excellent concept, but it's certainly not practiced.
    Too many politicians force their religious beliefs and denial of science onto us all.
    Organized religions are patriarchal and the continued belief that women are less than men continues in the 21st century.
    There are so many injustices for too many who are not privileged white males and I've lost hope in that things will ever change.

    Tonight's dinner will be shredded beef tacos.
    Placed the beef in the crock pot last night and woke this morning to a spicy scented kitchen.
    Easily shredded the tender beef and am looking forward to dinner!

    It's a dark and cloudy afternoon and once again, am hoping for rain.

    Hope everyone is having a terrific Tuesday!

  •  White supremacy is a difficult thing (7+ / 0-)

    When we look back at the early history of this country, you can see the jagged scars and deep holes that white supremacy has brought and continues to bring to this county. Organized religion has been and still is their crutch to morally justify these abuses. It's their way to clear the dark consciousness of misery and destruction they have fostered on many.

    Let me say that I'm not blaming all whites on this. But many of them tend to use their whiteness to hold back and lord over many people of color when convenient. And it's just not white conservatives who are guilty of this. There are and have been many white "progressive" liberals free from religion that have used that heritage of white supremacy. For example, you could look at the choices of the suffrage and gay right movements to exclude people of color in their fights for equality.

    Ta-Nehisi Coates piece on Trayvon Martin and the Irony of American Justice is one of many thoughts that this country - in all of it's fake gold shine - has never really meant for people of color to share in all of it's treasure and opportunity. The laws - and the system and white classes it protects - has been and still engineered to give a little and take a lot.

    Our native American brothers and sisters experienced this first hand many times over. From diseases to the degradation of lands and resources to forced relocation, the current dominant culture has shown that they could change you but you can never be part of them.

    It is my hope that the 21st century brings my children - with the gradual change to a more minority state - the true freedom that many of us have never really known.

  •  I'm not Native American... (6+ / 0-)

    I'm Celtic/German/Norse by blood. But the early Christians did much to same to us when they came to our lands. They stole what they wanted to use from our religion then insisted everyone convert to theirs while spreading lies and propaganda about our own. It's a pattern,and one not easy to fight.

    For dinner tonight, pork chops with ?? We haven't decided on the side yet, or even the full preparation of the chops. We may bread them, or just bake them with some Adobo and garlic infused vinegar, or maybe make up a stir fry. I just got back from the library with Bit and we haven't decided yet. Part of the deciding factor will be what my energy level is like and what Caedy's is in about a half hour when we go to start it.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:30:22 PM PDT

  •  Struggling (5+ / 0-)

    I have been struggling with faith since my brother's death. I can sympathize with his youngest grandson who believes there is no God because if there was one he would have saved his Grandpa Mike. I am tending more towards there is a spirit inhabiting living things then the type of God I was taught existed being raised Catholic.

    I think my picture Gaia is more towards where I am now in my life.

    Gaia photo Gaia_zps70b90458.jpg

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 03:46:48 PM PDT

  •  Do we really have freedom of religion? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, Ojibwa, state of confusion

    Do we really have the freedom to practice any religion (other than Christianity) - including not having any other religion imposed upon us, or having the freedom to have no religion at all - in this country...

    if we have to swear on the Bible before accepting political office?

    if we have to open government meetings with prayers or religious invocations?

    if our pledge of allegiance to the country requires acknowledging God?

    if using our currency requires trust in God?

    if we have politicians justifying legislation - such as opposing same-sex marriage, or abortion, or denying climate change, or pushing pseudo-science in public classrooms - by referencing the Bible?

    if everyone is expected to pay their fair share of taxes to fund the country - except religious institutions?

    if religious institutions are allowed to provide sub-par medical care because of their beliefs?

    if certain religions are allowed to construct monuments to their religions on public property?

    if the country acknowledges certain religions' holidays as national holidays?

    Is any of this consistent with supposed freedom of religion?

    •  Well, I currently practice a religion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that isn't Christianity, and so do many of my friends, and we're all publicly on record as doing so, and nobody is denying us citizenship or the right to own property or legal marriages.  And nobody is imprisoning us or murdering us for not being Christians.

      So yeah, we do have considerable freedom of religion in this country.  It's not complete but it's way ahead of, for instance, medieval Europe.

  •  Comparing us to other nations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd say we're pretty good on this matter.  The worldwide  trend seems to be toward contraction of religious freedoms (including the freedom of nonbelief), &  we have to resist  that trend until until the "arc of history" catches up. Most of the  problems we are having are  connected to "states rights."  As some states move progressively, & the national culture does likewise, states rights are increasingly used for resistance. They were used that way to resist every progressive step in human rights.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Tue Jul 16, 2013 at 10:56:13 PM PDT

  •  Religious differences (0+ / 0-)

    As Ojibwa points out, its curious that this country, with many attempting to allow freedom of religion, has had such little regard for native religious groups.  I'd say that most of the Founders were strongly anti-catholic church; that a group of the founders, influenced by Hume and the other Scottish thinkers of that era, were closet atheists  or agnostics (or Unitarian diests, which the superstitious christians consider not christians at all.)   But they all tended to minimize, if not ignore, native american rights to anything.

    Ed Wilson's On Human Nature had a chapter on human religions.

    I'd say today there is a strong crowd of superstitious folk (and them that use such folk) clamoring for more power in just about every part of the world.  Its happening in the US with the Republicans using the Christian right; the hasidic Jews making similar claims.  Much of the Muslim conflicts in Egypt, Turkey and Afghanistan derive from it.  

    Personally, I don't think its much different today than it ever was.  I'd say the % overall is probably long term stable with shorter term variances, like ocean waves, not that anyone has mentioned it.   In times of economic stress, people get scared and religion is a salve for fear.  If the economy breaks, I'd think you'd have a redoubling of efforts by the religious right (and a whole lot of people claiming nonsense such as god broke the economy because of legalization of gay marriage).


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