October 18, 2003

The Fiction Of Freedom Of Religion

More and more, I'm beginning to believe that freedom of religion is a fiction. Freedom of religion seems to be for everyone but Christians. Heaven forbid you express your beliefs in a church! I hope the President doesn't cave to the PC left when it comes to General Boykin. I am so sick and tired of believing Christians being portrayed as kooks and nutjobs. Lieberman said his remarks were "hateful", Conyers said "it is outrageous that someone who holds such extreme, closed-minded, zealous views would be allowed such a prominent position in our military." Well Mr Lieberman, and Mr. Conyers, thank you for telling us how you feel about so many of your fellow countrymen. Too bad they can't get as worked up about Islamic hate in our very own country, isn't it?

I do believe radical Islam is evil with an "E". I do believe they hate us. I do believe that their hate is caught up in our Judeo-Christian heritage. Hell, these are nutters who are still fighting the freaking Crusades! That is so 13th century. But they hate us anyway.

If General Boykin is vilified for exercising his freedom of religion and speech, then maybe we've already lost.

Update: Debbye's take on the matter.

Update II: Juliette's post on the subject.

Update III: Some crackerjack comment from Jen.

Posted by Ithildin at October 18, 2003 3:48 PM | PROCURE FINE OLD WORLD ABSINTHE


Christian Churches and Church organizations are free to:

Run their churches without paying taxes
Offer services anytime of day and year
Can own radio stations
Start and run television networks and stations
Write and produce documentaries, television programs, movies
Write and publish tract, pamphlets, magazines, and books
Own and operate publishing houses
Operate Church schools, colleges, seminaries, and universities
Offer Sunday schools
Offer Vacation bible classes
Send missionaries to other countries
Operate numerous charitable organizations
Set up and run websites on the internet

Individual Christians are free to:

Attend the church of their choice whenever that church offers services
Can work for Christian businesses
Can start and operate Christian businesses
Practice their religion in their homes
Practice their religion in public (as opposed to someone’s private property)
Attend Christian schools
Attend Christian colleges and universities
To tithe to the church of their choice
To give charity to the religious charity of their choice
Operate Christian websites
Write Christian or religious books, pamphlets, tracts
Start churches in their basements
Preach in public
Protest within certain limits
To leave the United States participate in missions and return
To travel about the U.S. and spread the gospel
To say grace at the meals
To send their children to Sunday school
To home school their children or send them to church schools
To pray at beds at night
To hold and celebrate religious wedding ceremonies and funerals
To pray in public
To celebrate religious holidays as national holidays.
To own and carry a Bible with them
To vote
To pray to themselves anytime, any place they choose.

Christians are fully 1/3 of the world’s population, 84% of North America is Christian, 76% of the United States is Christian

Religious freedom (particularly in the U.S.) is a fiction?

General Boykin is a General in the U.S. Military and is subject to different regulations when it comes to speech (not that he has violated any of them). General Boykin also holds a political office and there are certain things that he should not say for diplomatic reasons (whether you or I agree with him is beside the point). Since he has taken on this political position he is now subject to public scrutiny and critique like any other poor schlub that takes a like job.

Posted by: at October 18, 2003 5:59 PM

It amazes me how the Islamists condemn one mans belief while thousands are fuming hatred daily in Mosques and at Islamic conferences without any major condemnation. Oh, I guess its ok to spit at Jews and Christians and Hindus as long as your on the right side of Islam.

Posted by: at October 23, 2003 9:07 AM

General Boykin is a true combat hero who has spent the better part of the past 25 years personally fighting the war which America has been fighting since at least the time of the hostage taking in Tehran in 1979. On 9/11 the scale of this war escalated, bringing a back burner event into the forefront of the national consciousness. General Boykin has been on the front lines of every major engagement, from the failed hostage rescue attempt in 1979, leading the famed Black Hawk Down raid in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 and now he has received his third star and is leading the intelligence effort in the Pentagon to hunt down and find Osama Bin Laden and his ilk.

General Boykin is also a devout Christian and his 25 years of experience in this war has led him to the belief that Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and the rest of the temporal players in this war are merely the physical manifestation of a larger spiritual battle discussed in scripture. A battle to which every Christian is called and in shoring up support for that call General Boykin went to churches and prayer meetings asking his fellow Christians to do their part in the spiritual battle while soldiers fight the physical battles. They can do their part as we all can - by keeping the soldiers, our president and each other in our prayers.

He spoke in terms common to fundamental Christianity. A journalist from the LA Times made his way into one of these prayer meetings with intent only he knows in his heart. While Gen. Boykin’s fellow Christians may have left those meetings with a greater understanding of the true nature of the threat we all (Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists alike) face from this nefarious enemy, this reporter left instead with notes he had taken of the Generals talk.

Instead of releasing these notes, or possibly making a transcript of his full speech available, as they obviously have videos provided by the churches in question to play on the evening news from which transcripts could be taken if they so chose, this reporter chooses to only release the most incendiary quotes he can find. Surely a journalist is well acquainted with the Constitutional provisions of freedom of speech and freedom of worship. They will surely invoke those freedoms when they refuse to release a source who may provide information in this war - in the name of freedom of the press. They understand freedom of speech when one wishes to burn an American flag so I don't believe they do not understand that the General has every right to speak and worship without governmental molestation. What can be gained by releasing these inflammatory quotes out of context other than inflaming the moderate Muslims whom the Bush administration has been trying to woo to our side in this fight on behalf of freedom loving people everywhere of all religions and races. I don't dispute this journalist’s right to write what he pleases - I certainly question his methods and motivations.

Many Congressmen and Senators have called for General Boykin, a public official, to be removed for his views. A brief quote from Representative Conyer in a letter demanding the Generals resignation or removal to the Bush administration:

"I am writing to express my extreme displeasure over Lieutenant General William Boykin's remarks about the war and the Muslim religion. Lt. Gen. Boykin serves as deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and is charged with heading a Pentagon office that focuses on finding Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and other targets. This is a critical policymaking position, and it is outrageous that someone who holds such extreme, closed-minded, zealous views would be allowed such a prominent position in our military."

I would like to bring to the Congressman's attention Article VI, Section III of the US Constitution, a possibly-soon-to-be-forgotten relic of American history if positions such as this Congressman’s are allowed to remain unchallenged:

3. The senators and representatives before-mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Representative Conyers’ advocating of the Generals removal from the office or public trust of his position in the Pentagon is most definitively a religious test. Read again his objections to the General - is it his ability to perform his job? - no, it is his religious views and the audacity he has shown in speaking them - in a Church, of all places, - that draws his ire.

The most vocal advocates of removing General Boykin are the most liberal members of our government, most of whom are avowed separationists and should be familiar with the letter of Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists in which the famous phrase "separation of Church and State" is found:

"Believing ... that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
-- Thomas Jefferson to Danbury Baptists, 1802

Just in case the limitation of government to reach actions only; and not opinions, is a distinction that the Congressman in question and his supporters fail to make, I'll quote Justice Fields as he elaborates on this same letter in Reynolds v US in 1878:

"Coming as this [Jefferson's letter] does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere opinion, but was left free to reach actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order."

Notice please, Mr. Conyer, that Congress (psst...that means you Congressman) was deprived of power over mere opinion, regardless of how extreme, closed-minded, or even (gasp!) zealous (can you imagine a zealous religious person in office?) they might be.

As Americans we need to stand behind General Boykin, a true American hero who has carried the banner against terrorism allowing the rest of America for the most part to rest safely in their beds for the past 25 years while this war has been ongoing and fought by men such as he. What we do not need to do is to sacrifice this good man on the altar of political correctness.

We can and should take this opportunity to demonstrate to the world, including the Muslim community here at home and abroad, that when we claim the United States of America as a bastion of freedom to worship as the individual conscience sees fit, we mean it and our government does not try to ruin the career of a good man for the perceived crime of being "zealous" - I would submit that this country would be much better off if we had many more zealots who would stand up for their beliefs as General Boykin has. Whether we agree or disagree with his beliefs we should stand shoulder to shoulder with him in his fight to hold them.

God Bless America and the World.

Posted by: Pete Shoults at October 27, 2003 7:50 PM