On Tragedy and Religion

If I had any followers, I’d probably lose them today, but here it goes.

In light of another tragedy yesterday (12/14/12) there have been many posts about how this could have been prevented.  Many call for stricter gun control (wouldn’t have helped), others decry our mental health system (can’t argue there), and others point to the lack of religion in the United States, especially prayer not being allowed in schools.  This is the one I would like to talk about today.

I’m actually amazed that there are people out there who think that prayer in schools would have prevented this travesty.  You can pray in a theater if you want, did that make a difference?  You can actually pray in a school if you want, happens all the time in fact.  After the students hand in their final I would bet there is a lot of prayer going on.  None of this seems to put an end to violence.

On the lack of religion in the United States: I read a poll in the USA Today paper that said 20% of Americans said that they do not follow a religion.  20%!  That means four out of five people believe in one god or another, most of them some form of Christianity.  How is that a lack of religion in this country?  Has all that prayer stopped these things from happening?

I believe that what they mean to say is that there is a lack of religious enforcement in the United States.  “Why is the government not letting me force my religion on others?  It’s my God-given right to force people to pray!”  For some reason, the government doesn’t want to do this.  Not sure why.  (Hint: Read the First Amendment of the Constitution)

I have actually heard someone say that the Christians are being oppressed in this country. Really?  How many Christian churches are in America?  Over 300,000.  Yep, sounds like oppression to me.  What they had meant was that because Christians are not allowed to force others into worship, they are being oppressed.  Let me rephrase that.  Because Christians are not allowed to oppress others, they themselves are being oppressed.

I believe in the First Amendment.  I believe not only in freedom of speech, but of freedom of religion as well.  You have every right to believe in whatever God you want, and to worship them as you see fit.  I also have every right to not believe in any God.  You are allowed to stand on a street corner and preach whatever gospel floats your boat.  You might get silly looks, but you can do it.  As long as its public ground and you are not trespassing.  What you are not allowed to do is to force anyone to listen.  People can walk away if they don’t want to hear what you have to say.  Unless they are, oh I don’t know, in a school or other building they are not allowed to leave.

You might say, “They are not forced to pray in school, they can just sit quietly.”  No, you would be right on that.  They are, however, forced to spend time they should be learning on something they don’t believe in.  How would you feel if the school your children attended decided to teach them Islam?  Forced your children to listen to Islamic prayer?  I am betting you would be upset and take your child to another school.  What if all the public schools began to do this?  You would be forced to take your little ones to a private school.  Here is a very good point.  If you want your children to learn religion in school, take them to a private christian school.

There is NOT a lack of religion in the United States.  There is no oppression of the Christian people.  You want a lesson in oppression, talk to the Jews.  They know a thing or two about it.  Violence happens because humans are evil people.  We are selfish, self-serving, hateful, violent, evil people.  If we ban guns, they would still kill.  If we forced everyone to be christian, we would still kill.  Even if we made metal health service free to the public and easier to get help, we would still kill each other.  There is no solution to this problem.  There are lots of things that might help, but they wouldn’t help much.  As long as we glorify violence, celebrate it even, then we as a country will not change.  Don’t believe we celebrate violence?  Take a look at the news yesterday, or anything online.

You can believe in anything you want to believe.  You can celebrate any religion you wish.  In your home or in your church, you go right ahead and sing God’s name.  Before you force someone else to sit through your prayers, think how you would feel if you or your children were forced to sit through a Jewish service.  Everyday.  You would like to say that you would give them the time and just sit quietly and wait.  I doubt you would do it for very long.

Besides, religion has never solved violence, but it has caused it.

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