Religious Freedom

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Religious Freedom

America has been named the "melting pot" of the world. It houses many different cultures, nationalities, ideas and religions. There are Christians, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, Spiritualists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islamic, plus many more. America is unique in that all these religions are represented in a nation that is only 200 years old. And America has upheld, throughout history, that the freedom and equality of religion is extremely important in order for this nation to function as a free nation. The foundations of America were set as a result of England's persecution; more specifically, England's religious persecution. The colonists wanted to create a nation that allowed people to be free. They desired to speak what they wanted to speak, do what they wanted to do, and practice what they wanted to practice... without the government watching their every move. Thus came religious freedom.

The First Amendment to the Constitution states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," meaning that an American citizen would be able to practice his or her religion without any intervention or persecution from the government, be it Islam, Judaism, Mormonism or Catholicism. Yet, with religious freedom, comes an important question concerning its existence. Is religious equality just as important as all the other freedoms... such as the freedom of speech, the freedom of press, the freedom to assemble, and others as well? The answer here is yes. If this nation truly stands for freedom, the American government cannot say that its citizens have the right to speak freely, write freely, or assemble freely, but then maintain an establ...

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...s both ways: Not only is the government kept out of religious matters, but religion is, likewise, kept out of government matters. There would be a true "separation of church and state." Religious freedom has always been an important part of American history. It is the concept, which originally divided us from England, and without it, this country might not exist today. Religious freedoms, along with several other freedoms -- which are just as important -- make America unique. It allows citizens to believe what they want to believe, and practice what they want to practice without any pressure from the government. Yet, religious freedom does not constitute civil disobedience. The fact still remains that Americans are privileged in that they have this opportunity called religious freedom. It is an important part of what indeed makes this country "the land of the free."
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