In the comments of the last post, someone brought up the old line "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion." I've heard this saying tons of time, particularly with regard to the issue of having the words "In God we trust" on our money. It always seems like the people using this line think they are being inordinately clever.
Well, it just seems inordinately stupid to me.
What do people even mean when they use the "freedom of, not freedom from" line? I suppose they occasionally mean that in America we have the right to choose our religion, but not the right to choose to have no religion. Does that make sense to anyone? Do they really think government should force us to pick a faith?
I suppose that line is more commonly used to express the idea that we should not remove religious symbolism from the public sphere, as doing so would somehow force us to be "free from religion". As if removing "In God we Trust" from our money would suddenly force religious people to abandon their faith.
Well, the actual guarantee in the constitution is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Does removing "In God we trust" from our money prohibit the free exercise of religion? I think not. The fact that it doesn't say "In LRH we trust" on money does not restrict the right Scientologists to practice religion, and removing "In God we trust" wouldn't force Christians to stop believing in God.
It seems to me that "In God we trust" is in fact an endorsement of religion, since there are people who do not believe in "God" (atheists, Buddhists, pagans etc.) . Imagine how a religious Jew would feel if he saw the words "In Jesus we trust" every time he looked at his money. Or how a Christian would feel if it said "In Allah we trust". Nobody should be made to feel like they are not a "true" American because they don't believe in the particular deity endorsed on their currency.
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