Is There Room for Religion in American Politics?

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For 235 years America has been asking this tough question so don't expect a resolution from this one article.
Perhaps we may get lucky and reach the root of the real problem; perhaps not.
Before I go any further I would like to disclose that I am a Christian and a Republican.
Now that we've cleared that up, let's take a look at what we're doing to our country by bringing religion into politics.
Today, I watched a bunch of Republicans, on a right wing news channel, arguing about religion and how it's our freedom and our right to have religion and government sponsored events.
I thought about it for awhile and I concluded that they were right; it is within my constitutional rights to practice my religion as I deem appropriate.
What these reporters failed to address is that every American has that right; whether they are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, as well as the hundreds of other religions practiced in America.
In addition, individuals that don't believe in some higher being have the same rights to practice their belief or disbelief.
Therein lies the problem.
As a nation, how do we give each person the religious/non-religious rights they are entitled to? Do we change our Pledge of Allegiance from "under God" to "under any God," or "under all Gods?" Do we add a disclaimer "subject to personal beliefs?" Interestingly, the word "God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 when Congress used legislation to include "under God!" As Citizens of this country, we have some tough decisions to make.
Will we protect the rights of certain individuals (who are the majority religious group) or we will protect the rights of every individual? I believe a good person, religious or not, will come to the conclusion that we must protect the rights of every individual.
Otherwise, we are part of the problem and not part of the solution in rebuilding this Great Nation.
As of this moment, I have not said that a high school coach cannot lead a prayer before a game; and, I have not said that a President elect cannot be sworn in using a Bible.
Ask yourself this question; do you believe a future Jewish President elect should be sworn in using a Bible? Would that be fair? If we want Christian President elects to be sworn in using a Bible, we must come to the fair conclusion that so should a Jewish President elect be allowed to be sworn in using a Tanakh/Torah; or a Muslim President elect using a Koran/Qur'an.
Step back from your personal religious beliefs for just one moment and ask yourself - what is fair? Over the years I've heard many people use the line "it's always been that way" as an excuse for illogical government actions and processes.
I find it interesting that "In God We Trust", written on our money, was passed by Congress in 1954.
The same year that "under God" was added to our Pledge of Allegiance.
Is it possible our nation was going through a confusing and tough time in 1954? We had survived a major World War less than ten years before.
Our people and our government were living in fear of Communism.
Whatever the reasons for passing such legislation in 1954, our nation had done just fine before the word "God" was introduced to our Pledge of Allegiance and our money! To be clear, I am quite happy with the word "God" on my money and in the Pledge of Allegiance.
I have no problem leaving it there for eternity as it suites me and my family just fine.
The difference between me and many others is - I know it's wrong to many of my friends, neighbors, and fellow Citizens.
It forces my beliefs onto their everyday lives whether they like it or not.
That is something I'm not proud of.
This is where the message gets lost.
Yes, I am proud of being a Christian; no, I am not proud of forcing my beliefs on others.
Often I hear our media selfishly defending their rights and beliefs when they feel threatened.
Never do I hear them addressing how it impacts the rights of others.
As a country, we are at an impasse until we learned to view things from the other side.
No-one is really trying to take our rights away.
People are just asking - what about our rights? So the next time you're in a court room and you hear someone say "so help me God," think about this - what does that mean to an Atheist? When you stand up at a football game for the National Anthem, are you taking pride in your country, in your God, or both? For me, the National Anthem is about pride in my country.
I will pray to God, or take pride in my God, in my own way.
I don't feel a need to flaunt it in front of others! If I wish to accomplish anything with this article, it would be everyone to walks away with this question - do we need to reassess our approach regarding religion & politics in this country?
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