Is freedom of religion the same as freedom from religion? The Supreme Court is weighing in on that very subject this week.
In America, the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed by the Constitution. That, in and of itself, is a gift that not many outside of the United States can claim as theirs. We have been given this right as a way to temper the legislative efforts of those who find themselves elected, and it drives our great nation toward the betterment of society as a whole.
Only the cruel among us would find some offense in that. We desire for the nation to be happy, free, and prosperous.
But that means that we mustn’t find offense where there is none.
Atheism is protected not only by this statute, but also by the freedom of religion that we are fortunate enough to experience in America. Their choice is their choice, and you won’t find many Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, or other religious folks clamoring to bring the non-believers into their churches by force. We accept that their pursuit of happiness is their own.
So why do some atheists find themselves hellbent, (no pun intended), on combatting any and all inferences to faith in our modern world? Likely, these are the actions of an attention seeking minority within the non-denominational, and their rabble-rousing is meant to draw attention – not to encourage religious liberty. They aren’t so much non-believers as they are anti-faith – and that is not protected by Constitution…
…at least according to the Supreme Court.
Michael Newdow, the same activist attorney who tried to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, lost his case, arguing Congress’ mandate to inscribe “In God We Trust” on currency was a government endorsement of religion and a violation of the First Amendment.
Newdow argued in his petition to the Supreme Court that because his clients are all atheist individuals or atheist groups, the government violated their “sincere religious belief” that there is no God and turned them into “political outsiders” by placing the phrase “In God We Trust” on their money.
Again, Newdow’s belief is his, and a personal one. He has every right to espouse it however he wishes.
But when it comes to forcing the rest of the nation to adhere to his opinion, especially on a subject so internal and personal to so many Americans, he has turned his own freedom of religion into a hope for a national freedom from religion.
And that’s just not how liberty works.