UFI

Subtle Erosion of Religious Liberty

In Choice, Constitution, Courts, Education, Free Speech, Freedom, Government, Human Rights, Religious Freedom, Religious rights, The Family, Values on May 22, 2015 at 7:48 am

freedom of religion in USAby Gary Boyd

A recent change in the wording of a question on the United States citizenship test did not go unnoticed by Senator James Lankford (R-OK). The test now shows “Freedom of Worship”, rather than “Freedom of Religion”, as one of the basic rights of a U.S. citizen.

Morgan Mayhew, writing for www.libertynewsnow.com, discusses Senator Lankford’s inquiry into the change, and what results the inquiry has unearthed.

Senator Lankford questioned DHS Secretary Johnson before Congress in April, expressing to him that: “We in the United States actually have freedom of religion, not freedom of worship”.

Most of us have probably never looked at the citizenship test. When one is born in the United States, an automatic grant of citizenship eliminates most reasons anyone would have to review the test questions. While a seemingly small, and perhaps even an innocent affront, the implications of the change justify senator Lankford’s ire.

While freedom of religion may encompass freedom of worship, the opposite does not hold true. Freedom of worship would relegate one’s practice of religion to the expression of private religious sentiment and church on Sunday, leaving the option open to government of disallowing the individual to act conscientiously on a daily basis, consistent with religious belief. Freedom of religion, however, far more expansive, prohibits the government from interfering with one’s decisions of conscience based on religious belief. The First Amendment clearly prohibits Congress from impeding the citizenry in the “free exercise” of religion.

To swap Freedom of Religion for Freedom of Worship renders a religiously-minded individual either a criminal or a hypocrite. If a man or woman acts on his religious belief, contrary to governmental enactments, he or she may be punished by the law.

However, if the individual cowers from acting on religious belief due to government coercion, he or she has not been valiant and true to those beliefs most deeply held and cherished. The Constitution is clear that government has no authority to force the individual into such an unenviable situation, yet such situations occur each day, and the Sexual Revolution continues to grind and dilute Christianity, as most eloquently summarized by David French.

More than ever, the fight requires involvement, and the question of whether those who love religious freedom have the grit to fight is yet to be seen.

 

TECHNOLOGY TAKEOVER TIME

In Uncategorized on May 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

norman rockwell paintingby Vanessa Duersch

Early settlers to the American continent were not privileged to have the high quality telephones, paper printing methods, medicine, transportation, or even the fancy internet abilities to watch HD movies on Youtube. The best conveniences that they could speak for was the switchboard, horse and wagons, hand-sewn clothing, alcohol as a painkiller, and the printing press; just to project an overall image. We glance back at all the museums that seek to preserve and recreate what our ancestors had. No doubt that they may find themselves jealous at what conveniences we can enjoy today. No more days of harvesting, butchering, and trapping your own sustenance. There were many things that made life different than what it is today. Families had to work hard together to obtain so many things that technology has replaced for us today. It seems that while technology has come as a blessing in our lives to take care of us, it is hard to imagine that a quality of life was lost and forgotten with the changing culture of technological toys.

There is so much to learn from the elder family generations that led up to your existence. They may not have been the early pioneers, but they teach so much about how modern technology has boomed since they were growing up. When discussing how life differs to now, it becomes clear that they loved their lives of hard work and accomplishment and they were very sure of themselves on what the most important things in life were. Aunts, uncles and grandparents love telling their fascinating stories about being farmers during The Great Depression and how things were when they were lucky to have a radio. For them, that was enough for their childhood. Families worked hard and became closely bonded beyond what families seem to have today. After work, there was always playtime. They would play games like CAT, Annie Annie Over, Spoons or just go swim in the creek on a hot day. During the winter seasons, they would gather around a fire and read stories, listen to the radio, or just play music and dance. Couples would enjoy a nice walk and a picnic, or go on sleigh rides in the winter under a starry sky.  Everyone was involved and working together, bonding or reflecting on what is important to them-without the modern technologies squelching any chance of them shutting out one another.

You don’t have to throw out all modern technology and live in a cave for the rest of your life; but be able to know what your top priorities are in your life without the distractions of technology. Do your children know how to bake a sheet of cookies? Who is the best local family doctor when your kids get sick? Does your spouse know how to change the oil, change a diaper or soothe a crying baby? Do you know when your child is being bullied at school? How about what unique traits are hidden behind each special, strange, wonderful and quirky member of your family? What makes them happy? What makes them tick? How do they feel about their lives? Who are they? Do they know that you love them and think they are important to you? If you can’t answer the questions that show you care, then it is not too late to become your family’s hero. Get off the couch, turn off the smartphones, tvs and computers and take them somewhere beautiful, full of fresh air, water and trees. Be patient, and you might be amazed at what you learn.

Words from the Recently Engaged

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2015 at 8:18 am

happy couple 3by Tashica Jacobson

Two months ago I said “yes” to the biggest decisions of my life, and now both my fiancé and I are extremely happy. But with this one “yes” the wedding planning piñata blew up in my face, and now I’m wading through endless wedding planning, coordinating around everyone’s schedules, and counting down the days. There are many times, amid the stress, I have to stop and remind myself that this “yes” was also the start of us building our future family together and me personally living the things for which I’ve been advocating.

I’ve been told the benefits of marriage over and over again, and could list several of them, but as I look towards my own marriage things take on a different meaning. It’s not an accumulation of research papers any more, it’s life. I will be the one exemplifying what a marriage looks like for my friends and family, and what I accomplish with my marriage will influence many of them more than what anyone else will say.

When I review the progression of our relationship a study from the National Marriage Project comes to mind. They reported that premarital relationships influence marriage quality. In other words the patterns that a couple sets before marriage will continue to affect their relationship once married. One of the items listed is “sliding vs. deciding.” Sliding is when the development of a relationship happens without any real definite decisions. It may seem old fashion, but our relationship progressed with definite decisions. We have clear dates for the stages of our relationship. He announced his interest, we started officially dating, and we got engaged. Each step happened because we both decided to move to the next, the lines were not blurred.

All this has allowed me to look at the patterns that we have set for ourselves and what it is I hope to accomplish with our marriage. As we have started to make our plans I am realizing how important it is to be upfront with each other and create a strong foundation for the family we are going to have in the future.

A commitment to the community

One study discussed the importance of the wedding. Those with a larger public wedding report higher levels of marriage quality. While many factors play into this, one being that a public marriage shows a clear public commitment to one another. In The Case for Marriage, Maggie Gallagher argues that marriage is more than a private decision. She states “when you marry, the public commitment you make changes the way you think about yourself and your beloved; it changes the way you act and think about the future; and it changes how other people and other institutions treat you as well” (p. 43)

John Gottman’s quote “happy marriages are based on a deep friendship,” (p 19), makes me realize the foundation couples need to be developing. Friendship is what keeps couples together as they deal with the stress of daily challenges, and I like to think that this is what we have for each other and what we will continue to develop.  For example, he is the first person I want to tell when something silly happens at work. I find myself caring about things I never thought I would, simply because he cares about them. We were friends before we even started dating, and he’s someone I have always thought the world of.

The thing that I’m most in awe about is that this is the start of our own family. The other day I brought up a fear of having a child, and my concern that we get pregnant before we were planning for it. His response to this was, “That wouldn’t be a bad thing. I’m marrying you because I want to someday have a family with you, and if that happens sooner rather than later we will survive and it will be a good thing.” It is marvelous to see that as much as I love him now, I know that part of the love for him comes because I know we are going to grow together. Marriage is more than just the couple, it will extend for generations and the pattern that we establish now, will influence them.

It was once told to me that marriage was just doubling all of your problems, and that may be true. We are going to have to deal with my stubbornness and his forgetfulness; the fact I typically can’t stand movies, but he can name all the new releases for the year; his spending habits and my being a tight wad. We’re going to have to deal with groceries, insurance, children, health care, extended family, pets, dental visits, employment, and the lists goes on and on. But I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to plan my life with someone who has just as much invested in those plans as I do.

Marriage is the basis for everything that I care about and advocate for, and now it’s becoming real for me. While I realize that I’m naive when it comes to the challenges and problems that we are going to face, I know that it is all going to be worth it; and that marriage will make us better, just as it makes society better.

References:

Gallagher, M., & Waite, L. J. (2000). The case for marriage. New York, NY: Broadway Books.

Gottman, J. M., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.

Rhoades, G. K., & Stanley, S. M. (2014) Before I do: what do premarital experiences have to do with marital quality among today’s young adults. The National Marriage Project.

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