I would love to participate in every month that I can in the Social Justice Challenge.  This month’s topic is religious freedom, and Amy has some questions for us to ponder.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of religious freedom?

What knowledge do you have of present threats to religious freedom in our world today?
Have you chosen a book or resource to read for this month? (If not don’t worry, I’ll be updating the resource list this week)

Why does religious freedom matter to you?

The first thing that I think of when I think of religious freedom is the United States after 9/11.  As a country, we were so fearful of the religion of Islam and anyone who practiced it, that there was a lot of discrimination, intentionally or unintentionally, toward Muslim Americans.  Of course they were still free to practice their religion legally, but I know that they suffered a great deal because of what a few crazy extremists decided to do.

I don’t have a lot of knowledge of threats to religious freedom.  I know that the United States and some other countries are the most advanced in allowing their citizens to practice whatever religions they choose.  I know in some countries religion governs the people and they must practice the religion of the government.  I honestly am very uneducated in this subject, which is why I need to participate this month!

I haven’t chosen anything for this month, I definitely need some suggestions!

Religious freedom matters to me because I have struggled with religion on and off throughout my life.  I am a Christian at this point in my life, but as a child, teenager, and young adult I did not practice any religion and was very agnostic.  I resented people who tried to tell me what I should believe, and I can not even imagine what it would have felt like for me to be required to belong to any certain religion.  I needed to find Christianity on my own, and if I hadn’t been given the opportunity to make my own choices about it, I believe I never would have become a Christian.  Also, there are times even now when I fear the U.S. is becoming more of a Christian nation, and while I am a Christian, I don’t think that is okay.  We are supposed to be this country that includes everyone, regardless of differences, and yet so much of our policies revolve around Christian beliefs and values.  Generally speaking, that’s okay because those beliefs and values are similar to what most people believe anyway, but in certain things we sometimes leave other religions out, and I don’t think that’s fair.  Public policy should not be dictated by religion, and whether I agree with that religion or not, I still firmly believe that government and religion should be separate at all times.