We need to stop imposing our beliefs on others

December 21, 2012 

My issue is not whether you’re right or left, conservative or liberal, pro this or anti that. It’s just the rush to judgment on the issue of guns has brought up a fundamental issue that’s being missed entirely: The idea and hope of a nation that our Founding Fathers wanted.

It’s apparent not only in the Declaration of Independence or 11 years later in the Bill of Rights but especially in the writings and letters of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin that to be a free nation that religion would not play a part in it’s governing. This didn’t mean they were atheists or didn’t think religion important. They did, but to the degree that people of all religions would be held accountable under the eyes of God in their allegiance to the nation and their word in our courts of law.

They did not want religion to have a place in governing where one’s beliefs could infringe on the rights and freedoms of others. That is at its core, the vision of a great nation we could be, a people of all faiths free to assemble and speak but in a nation where another’s beliefs could not take away or restrict the freedoms of another.

So now we have these tragedies and the issue of the Second Amendment where the most vocal talk of freedom and our Founding Fathers in one breath but then believe that it’s the lack of God in our government that is root of most of our problems and that laws and restrictions need to be in place based on the word of God, i.e. a woman’s right to choose, who you can legally bond to or marry, what is taught in school, etc. It’s issues like this that divide this nation and that’s exactly what our Founding Fathers didn’t want.

When you boil it all down it’s the beliefs of others restricting the freedom of someone who might not share the same beliefs, especially when those freedoms do not in any way affect them. Our country would be great and a standard for the world if we could fulfill the vision our Founding Fathers saw of a truly free nation of many faiths, ideas and dreams instead of being a nation divided by them.

The writer lives in Conway.

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