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The Lake News Online
  • My view: Your religious freedoms are intact

  • I’ll bet a fair amount of people reading this column joined millions across the country attending church Sunday morning.
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  • I’ll bet a fair amount of people reading this column joined millions across the country attending church Sunday morning.
    The day might have started with a pleasant breakfast — eggs, bacon and a cinnamon roll out on the deck enjoying the weather. Sounds ideal.
    Then, churchgoers gussied themselves up, hopped in the van, station wagon or convertible and drove to a place of worship.
    Most people probably entered the church — or mosque, synagogue, or temple, though there aren’t any here in the lake area — through the front door, parking their vehicle on church property in plain sight.
    Outside of church, you can wear a cross necklace, don a yamaka, paste religious-themed bumper stickers on your car, go door-to-door handing out Bibles or Qurans, or evangelize your ascribed religious beliefs on the square in Camdenton all the way to in front of the White House.
    In short, the first amendment right to freedom of religion thrives in the United States.
    An opinion piece I received last week seemed to suggest otherwise and typified the seemingly growing sentiment that religious freedom — particularly relating to Christianity — is waning in the country.
    The author of the aforementioned opinion cited the inability to pray in school or prior to a public meeting.
    Last time I checked, the faithful use prayer as vigilant, personal and, above all, private communication with God. One can conceivably pray all day long without another soul knowing.
    That being said, you can pray in school or at a public meeting. There’s no other way I can explain it.
    Next, the opinion listed “Holiday Trees” as a religion-neutral option for “Christmas Trees.”
    Really? Who cares? You can call a Christmas Tree the Great Wall of China for all anyone cares.
    Some people tend to put far too much stock in the rhetoric of marginal radical groups and call that an attack on religious freedom.
    Some crazy group saying Easter isn’t a word because it’s too exclusive does not religious persecution equal.
    To say Americans have limited religious rights is an insult to those who risk their lives to follow their beliefs.
    Let’s look at Christians in Syria. Although the conflict isn’t explicitly religious in nature, Christian persecution is becoming a byproduct.
    USA Today reports, "Christians in Syria, where Muslims have risen up against President Bashar Assad, have been subjected to murder, rape and kidnappings in Damascus and rebellious towns, according to Christian rights groups."
    Of course, religious persecution isn’t limited to Christianity.
    Several friends and acquaintances from the St. Louis area moved to the United States from the Balkans in Europe because of conflict stemming from religious intolerance and persecution.
    Page 2 of 2 - I can’t fathom being forced from a home because of religious beliefs.
    The next time someone suggests that the U.S. lacks religious freedom, ask them if they fear physical repercussion for their beliefs.
    Do you attend church in a clandestine basement? I didn’t think so.
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    On a much happier note, two weeks ago, I said I’d let you know the gender of my first niece/nephew. Well, it’s a boy and I was happy to spend a little time with baby Tyler the past two weekends.

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