First Amendment as written:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Amendment I ( For Everybody Else)
“Religion is like a pair of shoes. Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes.” ~ George Carlin
In simple terms, George Carlin has made the guarantee of religious freedom as espoused in the First Amendment clearly understandable. Your religious beliefs are protected by the Constitution, but the Constitution also protects me from wearing your beliefs.
Our religion (or our lack of religion) hopefully gives us a personal moral conscience. But since all religious faiths are honored in our national charter, we must also have a collective moral conscience that best works for all faiths. Our Founding Fathers understood that, and molded our government to reflect that collective social conscience. Our laws therefore, are secular. And the founders are on record, believing that our collective social conscience only works when kept separate from our individual personal conscience, our religion.
Recently, there has be a coordinated effort, particularly at state levels, to replace our collective social conscience with a purely religious set of laws. School prayer laws, creationism as science laws, religious “conscience” laws that make discrimination legal, religious “conscience” exemptions that allow individuals to ignore laws based on their individual religious conscience, legislation designed to impose religious/moral beliefs on others in the area of women’s health and reproductive choices, and religious definitions of “marriage” that seek to dehumanize members of the LGBT community. There is a sense that religious extremists are such a powerful force in our government, that we have no choice but to sit back and watch individual religious freedoms being replaced by a burgeoning theocrat government.
Well, people are starting to catch on to this emerging trend, and are starting to voice their solidarity for real religious liberty. Take for example, the people of the state of Alabama who are meeting at 1:00 PM on the steps of the historic state Capitol building on Saturday, May 3rd, 2014 in defense of religious freedom. This statewide event, hosted by the Montgomery Area Freethought Association, will gather a wide and varied group of patriots in a show of solidarity. Atheist and agnostic groups, women’s rights groups, progressive government supporters, mainstream Christian and religious groups, and LGBT friendly organizations will be standing arm-in-arm and speaking in one harmonious voice in support of that collective American conscience, the wall of separation between church and state.
To date, speakers and supporters from such diverse groups as the Alabama ACLU, women’s rights groups like the Southeast Clinic Defenders, the Alabama LGBT Youth and Advocacy Program, the Universalist Unitarian church, the United Church of Christ, the Madison County Democrats, and many more have been contacted and have expressed interest and many have offered speakers for this event. The momentum is growing and as new state laws are introduced and passed almost daily in Alabama’s and other state assemblies that attempt to replace civic laws with religious or “conscience” legislation, we expect interest and support of the Alabama Rally for Secular Government to grow
If you, or members of your Alabama community would like to be a part of this event, or if you would like to provide support, speakers, or just some radical signs and banners, please check out http://www.montgomeryfreethought.net/rally for more information.
See you on the steps on May 3rd. And you won’t BELIEVE what MY sign is going to say.