On the 26th Religious Freedom Day as enacted by Congress, let us take a moment to remember that since the inception of this country all people are to be free of forced religion. In today’s environment a reminder that we are not only free to believe or not believe whatever we want, but that the rules of country should not be guided by religion, and “that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness” (Virginia Statue for Religious Freedom, 1786).
Today is a day to celebrate free thinking. To think for ourselves and not be hypocritical or mean because someone believes differently from you. Recently, I attended a local secular skating rink with my family and as you walk in the door, on the wall, was a giant 10 Commandments monument with the rules of the space including the requirement to love god and that god loves you. This got me to thinking, if the situation were reversed and I owned a family play space and had the 9 Satanic Sins on the wall right when you walked in would people still come? Would people be outraged and boycott my business? I suspect most would. However, on that day my family still entered the space and it allowed for a reciprocated dialogue with my children on what that monument was about and I was able to offer them some tools on how to reason for themselves.
Freedom of religion and encouragement of free thinking is fundamental for an intellectual and rational human society. So on this day, I am thankful for those ancestors who had the foresight to codify the need for religious freedom.