The Constitution and Religious Liberty

We live in ambivalent times. There have been external and internal threats to democracy that we cannot afford to neglect. Whether or not we agree or disagree with what’s happening, the fact that long-term contradiction between law and action will further result in chaos. Chaos usually ignites citizens in the wrong way. It gives people the signal to be hostile — all in the spirit of proving what argument or action is better.

The whole outlook that we are trying to bring up is to remove the sense of extreme competitiveness between individuals and in groups. Less bitterness, more encouragement. Sometimes encouragement just means understanding amidst differences. It means respect. It means expanding our knowledge about cultural and religious differences. We can never imagine a place where our ideas are rejected for a better one.

To combat cynicism, integration is a good step towards the desire to understand. And having that desire does wonder on people who experience a feeling of being isolated because of their beliefs.  The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment has been specific about accommodating religious liberty. (Cornell University Law School) There have been instances where practicing one’s faith (or one’s lack of faith) allows people to connect further with members of their municipality. It creates something shared. We connect more on the mentalities that religions created rather than its rituals. Catholic and Protestant schools and mosques thrive amongst secular households, and this diversity should bring an intellectual and communal wealth instead of division.

This definition of religious liberty is divided into two: that the government makes no partisan to any religion; that its priority will be to ensure the separation of Church and State (Cornell University Law School). Another is that every person in the United States has the right to practice his or her religion or none at all. We focus more on the latter definition – that each person, in each state and county and town, has the right to freely exercise their faith (American Civil Liberties Union) within the norms of the community.

The check and balances on how religious freedom is protected have always been subjected to various interpretations. These interpretations, therefore, could potentially cause a violation to other natural human rights. For example, opposition to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was accounted for by the LGBT community as this would prevent them from defending themselves on the grounds of discrimination for their sexuality. (Indiana General Assembly 2015) Legislation implying, quoting or supplementing the First Amendment usually aim to expound on its definition and to clarify its boundaries because circumstances of which the law may apply to can vary, and we want to broaden the scope of people that the Constitution protects. Values that represent laws have become highly competitive as the double-standard of equality builds the pressure on the groups who don’t want to be left behind with regards to security. (Russell-Kraft, 2017) Changes in the law should not pose a threat but rather a sense of accomplishment that groups who consider themselves a minority in the community now have a perspective.

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