Imposing religious beliefs on others is un-American
Even though Chuck Edwards campaigned as the anti-Madison Cawthorn, it seems Edwards is planning to put his own beliefs and desires — namely, the far-right Christian agenda — ahead of wants, needs, and desires. welfare of Northwest Carolinians.
Like Cawthorn, he preaches being a patriot while vehemently taking the anti-American route by ignoring the freedom of religion that the United States was built on.
On June 27, 2022, in celebration of Kennedy’s victory over Bremerton School District for allowing a high school football coach to pray before games, Edwards tweeted that “Christian Conservatives are about to take our country back.”
Disagreeing with the decision, Judge Sonia Sotomayor (herself a Christian, although she understands that her religious views do not govern everyone’s) wrote, “It elevates an individual’s interest in personal religious exercise, at the exact time and place of that individual’s religious exercise. choose, to the detriment of society’s interest in protecting the separation of church and state, eroding religious liberty protections for all.
The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of any religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” I’ve always felt that freedom of religion meant that everyone in the United States had the right to practice what they believed in or not at all. According to the ACLU’s website, “The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from encouraging or promoting (“establishing”) religion in any way. That is why we have no official religion in the United States.
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My religious beliefs oscillate somewhere between agnostic and atheist There are certain Christian philosophies I adhere to (treat others with kindness, respect and empathy), but I am fiercely against all Christian dogma and don’t think I should base my moral on an old book in which I do not believe. But Pat, you say, it’s the word of God, which I contradict, I don’t believe in God or in his word. Therefore, I don’t believe it’s a sin for a woman to have an abortion, and I don’t think I’m going to burn in hell because I’m gay, mainly because I don’t believe in hell.
What I believe is that you are free to believe and practice whatever religion you want. Although it doesn’t work for me, it works for many people I love.
My mother is a religious woman, although like many of them I would say they are the most empathetic, compassionate and balanced Christians, she picks and chooses which dogmas to follow based on what she thinks is right , a fancy way of saying that she doesn’t think God will strike me as a sodom either – she just wants me to try to be a good person. She doesn’t believe in abortion but has the means to believe that a woman should be able to choose to have an abortion based on her own beliefs, not my mother’s. Even though she is religious, and I am not, we were both upset by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, both worried about what may happen if a small sect of Christianity begins to impose its beliefs on all Americans.
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Last week, the Citizen Times reported on an anti-abortion rally organized by local pastors in Madison County. Brain Coates, a speaking pastor, said at the anti-abortion rally held at the Marshall Courthouse, “We are here to affirm what we believe in Madison County.”
Coates, of Arrington Branch Baptist Church in Marshall, went on to say, “Baptist Christians in Madison County are getting this county back.”
I find it troubling, this idea that far-right Christians have that we need to move towards a theocracy, which the almighty dictionary defines as “a state ruled by a theocracy” (for those wondering, others modern theocracies include Afghanistan under Taliban rule).
I find it infuriating that my rights to practice or not to practice as I see fit under the Constitution are violated by men like Cawthorn and Edwards, posing as patriots while in fact being contrary to the principles on which the was founded.
I urge those of you who are Christians to step back and realize how un-American it is to vote for those who want America to be ruled by one religion. I also want you to understand what a slippery slope it is to grant dominant control to a religious party (see the aforementioned comparison with the Taliban).
Pat Brothwell is a former high school teacher and writer and marketing professional living and working in Asheville.
This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Opinion: Imposing religious beliefs on others is un-American