Category Archives: Freedom of religion

Missing From the 2016 Presidential Campaign—any Mention of God & Religion

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

There is an old cliche which says, “One thing you should never argue or discuss is politics or religion.”

One thing is for sure, when it comes to politics and politicians no one is mentioning anything about religion. They leave the ‘religion’ out and argue ‘politics’. They not only argue with each other they debase, defame, denigrate, disparage and verbally abuse each other relentlessly and with a no-holds, reckless abandon that is disgraceful but apparently acceptable because, “that’s politics”. On the other hand, they will rarely, if ever, mention God or religion.

 According to all of the latest polls, the items  of prime importance to the American voter in 2016 are: a)  the economy; b)  jobs; c) immigration and d)  terrorism. Unbelievably (to me) there is little mention about the incessant attacks and rulings against our religious freedom(s). How can this be?

I am fascinated by these polling results not so much for what they say and/or predict but for what they avoid. They completely seem to ignore the religious backdrop of the American story. Religious freedom is the cornerstone of our success. W must stop making believe it is insignificant.

These religious freedoms are the foundation for an ever expanding and vibrant economy. These freedoms are the fertilizer that helps grow jobs.These freedoms are so envied that people from all over the world continually want to come here. Yes, the fact is, Freedom of Religion is the very lynchpin that has held us together throughout our 240 year history.

                                                                                                     

But now I am afraid. I am afraid because the insidious, intentional eroding of the foundation of our nation is being completely ignored. We are witnessing the weight of a secular self-centeredness that is not only methodically erasing  God’s presence in our country but, along with God, the religious tenets (also called Natural Law) used as building blocks by our Founding Fathers.

  When people have the freedom to worship God unencumbered and without reservation, it frees up their spirit. They embrace this great gift and it results in personal growth and fulfillment. The United States of America proved to be the greatest nation in history because of an individual’s freedom to be who they would be.

 Over the course of our American history there have been numerous Freedom of Religion cases that have impacted our nation. However, over the last  decade, the anti-religion, anti-God rhetoric has seemingly taken a secure foothold in the battle against the”Creator who has endowed us ALL with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. And yes, in the very first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence the name of GOD is actually used. He is NOT anathema to the United States of America.

It seems to me that we must stand up and fight back in defense of God and religion. Being a “none” is NOT a religion. being an atheist is NOT a religion and being a Satanist is NOT a religion. Religion is the means we use to worship God and we are free to do so. Religion does NOT define NOT worshiping God.

There is even an organization called the Freedom from Religion Foundation FFRF. Can someone explain to me how, in a country that proclaims Freedom of Religion as a fundamental right, a group can be legalized and can sue folks for expressing that freedom?   The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the antithesis of our primary, fundamental Constitutional right. It is even a functioning and approved non-profit 501(c)3 active in all 50 states. Does this make any sense at all? How can an entity whose primary purpose is to attack our First Amendment be legally sanctioned to do so?

Not worshiping or believing in God is our choice as Americans. Those of you who have chosen that route  have been blessed with this privilege. Many have died to secure this Freedom for you. Why, if you can non-worship the way you so choose, do you want to prevent others from worshipping as they choose? Why would the name of Jesus Christ, a simple carpenter who preached love and forgiveness, be offensive to anyone? Whatever is your self-absorbed, hateful motivation to attack the very freedom(s) that protect you? What are you so afraid of?

                                ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

"Same-Sex "Marriage"; The Great Illusion of the Modern, Secularist Era:

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The United States Supreme Court has now heard the arguments for and against “gay- marriage”. Now we wait to see what the almighty Justices have decided. We will not hear the decision until sometime during the early days of summer. As for me, I do not get it. No sirree, this does NOT make sense to me. From the modern dictionary  we have this:
MARRIAGE: Noun;
any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various part of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage.

That dictionary could not be more politically correct so I traveled back in time to the 1988 Webster’s Dictionary; This was a bit more concise (It was before PC had rum amok) From Webster’s:
MARRIAGE: Noun;
the state of being married, relation between husband and wife, married life, matrimony.

This is from Webster’s 1913 dictionary:
MARRIAGE: Noun;
The act of marrying, or the state of being married: legal union of a man and a woman for LIFE, as husband and wife; wedlock; matrimony.

 I had to go back to the dictionary of one hundred years ago to find the words, man and woman, included in the definition of marriage. By 1988 only the words husband and wife were being used to define the word. But I was not deterred. Onward and forward and I looked up the word, “wife”. VOILA! The modern dictionary describes the meaning of the word like this:
WIFE: Noun;
a married woman, especially when considered in a relation to her partner in marriage.

I had one more stop and that was back at Webster’s. Here it is:
WIFE: Noun;
a married woman; specif., a woman in her relationship to her husband.

 But, alas, it does not matter. Within the same-sex marriage phenomena, in a man/man marriage they refer to each other as “my husband”. In a woman/woman marriage they refer to each other as “my wife”. The words, man and woman, are gone. They could use other words such as; companion, partner, spouse, or mate but, what is the difference. Same-sex marriages can NEVER be the same as the marriage of a man and a woman. Why are they trying so hard to get a recognition that is illusory at best?  For crying out loud, even Social Security is available to same sex relationships. Why the obsession over the word “Marriage”?

I am a Catholic man and I love my faith and am probably among those considered as “devout”. I freely admit, I do not understand how two men or two women might be romantically attracted to each other. However, since I do not understand it and I believe we are truly all God’s individual creations it follows that I will not pass judgment on gay couples. I am an individual creation of God just like they are. Pope Francis has said, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”  Well, it follows, I will NOT judge nor do I have the right to do so.

The Catholic Church has its teachings and beliefs about homosexual relationships.  It does not condemn homosexuality. If you are homosexual you can be in full communion with the church. But the Church requires living a life of chastity outside of marriage. That also applies to a man and woman who are not married. The Church will never perform or sanction a “gay-marriage”. That is how it is and will always be.

The Church is often denigrated because it holds fast to certain teachings and says “NO” to progressive and secularists who want change only to accommodate their own agenda.  “Same-sex marriage” is foremost among those changes sought. It will not and cannot happen. Let us not forget that the Catholic Church also encourages self-denial because it does bring one closer to God. Chastity is still on the “books” as a moral virtue  and is considered a gift from God (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2344,#2345)

It seems to me that we are in the midst of the Great Illusion of the modern era.  If a man and a man or a woman and a woman want to enter into a pseudo-marriage alliance and call it “marriage”, it seems they are entering into an illusory world. “Marriage” is only a word. It can never change the fact that two men or two women will never be heterosexual. It will never change the fact that they will never be able to procreate and continue their family bloodline because it will not exist.

In fact, the only way to do that would be to create the three parent family and one of the married persons would not be an actual parent.  But to accomplish this the OPPOSITE sex must participate. They would have to be an egg or sperm donor. How can that be a family? Will that also require new court battles to redefine the meaning and constitutionality of what “family” is? Imagine how convoluted and mixed up for the child. When it comes full circle and a child is involved, there had to be a man and a woman  to bring forth that child. Plus, there will be no genealogy and no family tree to build on unless it is outside of the same-sex couple’s marriage. What a damn mess.

Okay, final thoughts: If the United states Supreme Court decides that “same-sex marriage” is the “law of the land”, what happens to tax exempt religious schools who cannot abide by such an unnatural and anti-religious law? Will they all lose their 501(c)3 exemptions? Will it be illegal to teach Traditional marriage? The proverbial can of worms that has been opened is about to explode.

Lastly:  If the SCOTUS declares that same-sex marriage is legal under the United States Constitution that could very well mark the end of The First Amendment and Freedom of Religion.  I think it will be unavoidable, with that entire, magnificent document  falling like dominoes.

                                         ©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved

A Note to all you Whiny Atheists, et al: I am Tired of Your "Nonsense"

by Larry Peterson

peace_cross
Veteran’s Peace Cross: Prince George County, Maryland

We just celebrated Memorial Day where we honored all those who gifted their nation and their fellow citizens with their most precious possession—their lives.  Memorial Day is a poignant holiday with deep and profound meaning. There is even a scent in the air and it is called tribute and gratitude. The vast majority of Americans sense this and it causes them to maybe just slow down a bit, breathe it in, and give a thought to those being honored on this special day, this uniquely American day. And then, you have the miniscule population of God-haters, the mental Lilliputians of our land, aka atheists.

I am so tired of their nonsense. SO, to all you whiny, cranky atheists, agnostics, humanists and God-haters let me say:
        I have nothing against you. I do not care what you believe in. Worship a tortoise shell, love a Dogwood tree, cuddle a plush toy.  Good for you–knock yourself out.  But why do you have such a problem with the vast majority of us who believe in God and wish to honor Him?  Don’t you understand how you offend all of us with your ranting and raving about our core beliefs.  Don’t you care about any of us?  Are you so wrapped up with your own personal wonderment that you cannot see beyond your  ill-conceived justifications for God-hating?  (Hey look, God is about LOVE, right, so what is so bad about that?)  Don’t you understand?  Can’t you grasp  how deeply faith in God is embedded in so many of your fellow citizens?  It is part of our American genetic fabric. Why don’t you care about our feelings and how hurt we can be at God being mocked and trashed?  Maybe you are just jealous and wish that you could have some of what the rest of us have. Is that it?  If that is the reason then it is simply yours for the asking.  Our entire existence on this planet is predicated by the perfection around us.  Imagine no time or no seasons, or no night and day?  Do you think all of that surrounds us and supports our very existence just happened through some random explosion?  Try taking apart an iPhone and blowing up the pieces. See if you get a better and improved iPhone.

What prompted me to write this to you was your latest temper tantrum being directed at the Veteran’s Peace Cross in Maryland.  This 40 foot cross was erected almost 100 years ago and honors 39 fallen, WWI soldiers from the area.  Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, was in office when it was dedicated.  So, one of your people,  a guy by the name of Fred Edwords (not misspelled) is the founder of an organization called the “United Coalition for Reason”. Fred’s organization is for atheists, agnostics, humanists and whoever other God-deniers or haters would like to join. (Maybe you belong to this group).  Anyway, Edwords and his group filed suit against the cross to “save the taxpayers the money” of having to maintain it.  How noble of them.

I could go on and on about this but these people get enough attention. The name, United Coalition of Reason, is, in my opinion, an oxymoron. It contradicts itself.  It is actually a silly name.  Why? Because “Reason” will lead a person to the existence of an intelligent being (most of us call that being “God”) because perfection cannot be the result of a random explosion. Atheism is the result of a missing ingredient. Not having this ingredient causes a condition known as  “Denial”. If an atheist could somehow ingest, inject or simply breathe in a heavy dose of this ingredient they might catch a glimpse of that Intelligent Being and His benevolent hand that has crafted all we know. That ingredient is called Humility.  

Bashing God in America: How "FAR" You Have NOT Come

by Larry Peterson

I am over it.  I am fed up with these whiny cry-baby atheists who for some bizarre reason have decided that God and Christianity are “offensive”.  I also think the agencies, administrators, judges etc., who uphold their ridiculous argument that even so much as mentioning the name of GOD violates our Constitution are also pathetic.  Those folks are using their positions of responsibility to undermine the very foundation that this great nation was built upon.  That bedrock, like it or not,  is known as the Judeo-Christian principle.  Anything else promoted as the bedrock is an impostor and is simply secular hogwash.  Here is a quote from our second president, John Adams; “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Imagine President Adams saying that today. Imagine any president or politician saying that.                        

The Pilgrims and Puritans and Quakers and Catholics and Mennonites and so many others came here for religious freedom. The existence of God was never in question. His existence was an absolute. The question was, how do we acquire the freedom to worship God in our own way?  It took the colonialists about 180 years, from the forming of the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia in 1607 until, as newborn  Americans, they ratified the Constitution on September 17, 1787. It was not until 1791 that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were ratified. They became known as the Bill of Rights and the very first one states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the 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 to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 Easter season is once again upon us. It is the Christian celebration of new life and redemption. Yet there are so many in positions of authority that step on the Constitution trying to obliterate the words in it.  We Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  We believe that “Christ has died, Christ has risen, and that Christ will come again.”  Isn’t that our right as Americans?  Jesus seems to be hated by many, including the vitriolic atheists who want His very existence “stricken from the record” by trying to claim it is illegal. Yes siree, I, for one,  am over it and tired of it.  Jesus Christ preached LOVE and KINDNESS and FORGIVENESS. Is that a problem?  Why would that “offend” anyone?  Plus, He was beaten, tortured and killed because He promoted those virtues. Does that make any sense?  Yes it does because, as history has proven over and over, often times pride and greed and ego squash love and kindness and forgiveness into smithereens. It is very sad that so many people can be filled with so much hate. So much so that they willingly kill and destroy and do everything they can to eradicate all that is GOOD. And they do it claiming it is virtuous. What a joke. How “FAR” You have NOT come.

If you do not want to believe in God I do not care. Knock yourself out. Sit under a tree and feed a squirrel. That is the beauty of America. It is okay to do that. But this business about mocking Christianity and trying to have it taken from the public square is utter nonsense. More than anything else though, it is spitting into the faces of all those two billion plus people around the world who follow Christ and His teachings. It is mocking the millions of Jewish people exterminated in the Holocaust. It demonizes a 75 year old priest, Father Frans Van der Lugt,  who was beaten and murdered in Syria last week for being kind and loving to the poor and needy for more than fifty years. It defiles the memory of the 80 Christians who were executed in North Korea last November because they each owned a Bible.

You people who want God out of the American equation are fools. The reason you  have this right to complain is because our country is built on the Judeo-Christian principle. If you lived in North Korea or Iran, or China or Afghanistan, or Pakistan or Somalia and tried this you would be tortured and killed and never heard from again. But you live in the United States of America that allows you to spit into the faces of so many without retribution. You are blessed more than you can know.

To all  you God haters and deniers, I’m am tired of your rants. You know, back in 1938 Kate Smith introduced the Irving Berlin song, “God Bless America”.  I would venture to say that almost every American, young and old alike, knows this song.  Every time we sing it, no matter what the venue, we, as Americans are asking GOD to bless us. It is our national prayer as Americans. It is a beautiful thing. If you choose to be “offended” by that simple prayer because it uses the name of GOD, can’t you just keep it to yourself and keep your mouth shut?  You are the ones being offensive.  How “FAR” You  have NOT come.”

God and Freedom of Religion–Nothing but an Oxymoron

by Larry Peterson

Florida has this peculiar demon called the ‘sandspur’. It is a barbed, pointy thing that is attached to a certain type of grass that sticks to your socks, shoes, shoelaces, and, if you happen to be barefoot, your feet. When they do become impaled in your feet they hurt–a LOT. When you try to pull them from your feet or pick them from your socks and/or shoelaces,  they get stuck in your fingertips. (The trick is to always wet your fingers first.) Here’s the thing. I never intentionally invaded their territory. It was an accident. They were here before I was. Therefore, I do my best to avoid them. I have made no attempt to eradicate them because that would be impossible. They are here to stay–end of story.

It seems that several months ago the  Freedom From Religion Foundation filed suit in U.S. District Court in NY to have the name of God removed from United States currency where it is imprinted with “In God We Trust”. These people are atheists who call themselves “nontheists”  because the word ‘atheist’ is too offensive to most folks. Anyway, they say that using the motto “In God We Trust” is “problematic” because it violates the  First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I maintain that they do not know what they are talking about and neither do all the judges, school administrators, parents, and whoever else complains about using the name of GOD because it violates the Constitution. That is absolute hogwash and I can explain why very simply. God has nothing to do with Freedom of Religion. Nothing at all. It just seems that all of us “Theists” (we are the people who believe in God and number in the countless millions), have become the sandspurs in the heads of the ‘nontheists’ and they cannot stand the pain and, try as they may, cannot seem to weed us no less eradicate us. For crying out loud, why do they even want to get rid of what we believe if they do not believe it to begin with?

This is the First amendment, word for word:  “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.”  I ask you, what is religion? Is it not the manner in which we choose to worship God? God is NOT religion. The Founding Fathers accepted the existence of God as a ‘matter of fact’. They just wanted to make sure all the citizens of the new nation would have the CHOICE of worshiping Him anyway they chose. Remember, many folks came here from Europe to escape religious persecution, ie; the Pilgrims, the Puritans, Quakers, French Huguenots and Mennonites (Anabaptists) to name a few. If someone claimed to be a “nontheist” back in the 17th or 18th century and tried to get the name of God eradicated they would have either been burned at the stake or hanged.

Here is a quote from George Washington, the Father of our Country, from a speech he gave to the Constitutional Convention delegates prior to ratifying the constitution:  “If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards, defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of GOD.”

There you have it. Before the Founders even started their work the First President told them that ,”the event is in the hand of God.” They knew there was a God. They accepted that as fact. They also knew that people had many different ways of honoring and worshiping Him. That is the right they wanted to protect. They NEVER considered for a moment that the name of GOD would violate the First Amendment. To me the entire concept is an oxymoron. Without God you can have no Freedom of Religion. Why would you need it?

So, to all you ‘nontheists’ (aka atheists) out there who cannot seem to get we Theistic, God believing sandspurs out of your heads, too bad. You invaded our world. Why don’t you relax and enjoy the rights afforded you. Why do you even care if we choose to believe in God? What is it to you?  You don’t believe he even exists and yet you fight to get rid of Him. You have a problem.

Do We Now Have An Unratified, 28th Amendment to the US Constitution?

Let me begin by posting a definition from Wikipedia: It is as follows;

“National Religious Freedom Day commemorates the Virginia General Assembly‘s adoption of Thomas Jefferson‘s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. This vital document became the basis for the establishment clause, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution‘s First Amendment.[1]
Religious Freedom Day is officially proclaimed on January 16 each year by an annual statement by the President of the United States. This day is commemorated by the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia by an annual First Freedom Award banquet.”
Well now, ain’t that something. Every year on January 16 we celebrate Religious Freedom Day. But this year, as the president proclaims the day, his White House is facing  dozens and dozens of lawsuits over the HHS Mandate because of its intrusion into the very belief system of our religious institutions. I am sure that President Obama will not admit that the HHS mandate is intrusive or in violation of our First Amendment rights but, the way I see it is, if someone keeps smacking me in the back of my head and keeps telling me he’s not smacking me because it is only a light tap, I don’t care–I KNOW I am getting slapped, smacked or whacked. Call it what you will–something IS happening and it is a violation of my personal space. 
Look, if someone holds up a bat or a knife or even a fist and threatens you with it, that is an assault. The battery is when they actually hit you. That is why it is called assault & battery. So, as a Catholic Christian, it is very clear to me that my church is being assaulted by the very government that has sworn to protect these freedoms we cherish so highly. The battery will come in the form of fines levied against institutions for non-compliance with the new rules.
  It doesn’t matter what “percentage” of Catholics agree or disagree or what percentage voted for the incumbent. It does not matter what all the intellectuals that inhabit our universities think is right or just. It does not matter what all the cinematic thespians expound as virtuous. It does not matter what TV pundits, late night comedy show hosts and, all the intelligentsia that fill our editorial pages with their wisdom think. No siree,—when it comes to our religious freedoms it is none of their business unless criminal law is being violated under the guise of religion. We should never be told what parts of our faith we should honor and respect. It cannot be justified by percentages or polling numbers or by the opinion of the Ivy League community. It is a sacred right and for this right to be disrespected like this is disgraceful.
The GREAT PARADOX of the American Constitution seems to be our new, unratified, 28th Amendment. It might read: “The right of the Executive Branch of the United States Government to redefine the Constitution of the United States to accomodate its agenda, shall not be abridged”.  

The "Vacuous Virtuous" Need to Stay Out of Our Churches

I am a blue-collar guy who has, based on my date of birth, become a “senior citizen”. That qualifies me for lots of discounts. No big deal because most of those start kicking in at age 55 and I passed that mark a while back. Now I qualify for Medicare. I am also, and this is most important, a Catholic. Okay, to the point.

I am tired folks. Not because of my age or bad back but because I am worn out from being slapped upside my head because I am Catholic. There are supposedly 77 million Catholics in the United States. That makes me one little pea in a great big pod. And this pea is pee-ode. I am sick and tired of hearing my faith denigrated and mocked by a secular world where the slightest hint of a moral boundary professed or defended is scorned and/or ridiculed by these secularists, many of whom claim to be “catholic”. God forbid anyone (especially someone like Cardinal Dolan of NY and the head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)  attempts to defend his faith and his flock by saying “NO” to someone of modern virtue who has their own ideas as to what the Catholic faith should be. The Cardinal and his peers, including Pope Benedict himself, are deemed “out-of-touch”, “radical”, or “outside the mainstream”. Here’s the deal; there is no such thing as “progressive” catholicism.  The basic tenets of the faith have been around for centuries.

My three priorities have always been God, Family and Country—in that order. But you see, no one ever bothered me about that. No one ever bothered you either, right? God bless the framers of the Constitution. Were they SMART. Freedom of Religion–the very first amendment. They knew what kind of lid had to be placed on the pressure cooker of diversity that was to be America. They knew that religion transcended man made law. They knew that a sense of right and wrong was an inborn gift. Religion spelled it out. It provided a moral compass. Therefore, they left it alone and reinforced it with the First Amendment. But then a few hundred years went by and somehow “yes and no” became not only archaic but anathema to so many of our sophisticated and secular 21st century intelligentsia. I would like to dub them the “vacuous virtuous”. Their sense of great smartness has laid waste to any sense of humility they may have once possessed. The result—noxious fumes.

As a Catholic Christian I am supposed to try and live my faith 24/7. We Catholics can go to Mass and Communion every single day of the week if we so choose. There are still many of us, including me, that do. We go for spiritual reinforcement and nourishment so, when we leave the church and confront the world OUTSIDE, we are prepared to live up to out beliefs. We have to work at it, are quiet about it and just do the best we can with what God has given us. Sometimes we succeed, some times we don’t. After all, we are imperfect beings.

Now, unprecedented in American History, an administration in power is telling us that when we go OUTSIDE our church we must violate our beliefs under penalty of breaking the law, facing fine or even imprisonment. They have even suggested that we (as Catholics) have declared “war on women” because we are refusing to give women contraception and abortifacient drugs. Have they lost their minds? Not hardly. They know full well that Title X was signed into law by President Nixon in 1970 and that contraception has been available to all women in this country ever since. The problem with religion, and not just the Catholic religion, is that it sets boundaries and rules and says “NO”. The nerve to tell us we CANNOT do something or have our way. Who in hell do they think they are? Government is the “Great Benefactor”. So,  let’s kick down their doors and take charge.

The powers that “are” think that they have found the “weak link” in the suit of armor. How foolish they are.The Catholic Church has been around for two thousand years. It has survived onslaughts by the “vacuous virtuous” many times and it will again. It will also be around long after all of us here today are not. As for me, I just want them to leave me alone.