Sharmin Smith for President 2020
Religion Category

Religious Freedom

I am a Christian. I am not a evangelical.  What does that mean?  That means my personal relationship with my Christ and Savior is exactly that, it's my personal relationship.  I was not raised in the church, I was introduced to religion through my ex-husband. I was baptized in a Southern Baptist Church in west Texas.  I was excited to be part of something I had heard about growing up but did not experience.  My ex-husbands parents were the parents I had always wanted and never known.  They were kind, loving, caring and compassionate, their church was a central part of their lives.  My ex-husband and I would do nightly Bible readings where he made sure I read all the passages that indicted I needed to be submissive to him.  Submission was simply not compatible with my personality.  

I began to participate in what I came to believe was a very dangerous game.  I called the game "Quote The Bible".  Within the Bible there are endless opportunities for you to respond to any situation with a specific quote.  It became painfully obvious to me that what I was doing was committing spiritual warfare against other Christians.  It didn't take long before I chose to no longer participate in this game as I decided it was not beneficial to either party.

I began to embrace the concept of being spiritual, rather than religious.  I learned about Gnosticism and the foundation that Christianity was built on.  I have watched for years as many other people have turned away from traditional churches and embraced these same spiritual beliefs. Especially as the pedophilia scandal rocked the Catholic Church. Yes, you can find God under a rock, or in the smile of a child.  No, you do not have to attend a brick and mortar church and listen to a stranger tell you how your relationship with your creator must be.

Throughout the last 20 years I have had many opportunities to investigate other churches to see if the issues I had experienced in one building existed within another. I have been saddened at each opportunity and the last time I set foot in a church I sat through one of the most despicable sermons I'd ever heard.  It was a church in Central Ohio where the pastor was gone and an elder was managing the flock in his absence.  This elder started the sermon off with telling everyone that Jesus had come back and died to wipe out all sin, and he believed that.  That's just not what he was called that day to discuss.  That day he felt it was important to share that he personally felt that women were the root of all evil and if Adam had just done his job, and controlled his woman, then none of us would be in this mess today.  He made it a point to call up people that the Holy Spirit told him needed extra prayer for the saving of their souls.  He called about a dozen women up to the front of the church and prayed for each of them.  

As a Christian, I have heard this sentiment many times. Recently a Catholic Bishop has even taken to blaming pedophilia on too many women in the church.  It seems everywhere we turn women are the problem, and men hold no responsibility in the destruction of the world.  I simply do not agree.  I do not think this is logical, reasonable, nor do I think it is consistent with the teachings within the Bible. That doesn't change the fact that this message is everywhere.  

What I believe is that it's easy to point the finger at someone else, rather than look at yourself and acknowledge we could be doing things better.  I continue to hear people complain about sin and sinners and not acknowledge that Jesus' death wiped out sin.  He came and died for all of us and we should not be passing judgment on each other.  It certainly is not going to benefit the church to blame women for their priests' sexually abusing children. That logic is going to further reduce church attendance and drive people farther away from religion.

We have moved into a new world with regards to religion and government.  The start of this Religious Task Force through the Department of Justice is just another step in a long dark history of religion being used against us, rather than to unite us.  

Our Constitution offers each of us the Right of Religious Freedom.  The question is what does that mean to the people who are on this task force? The Constitution doesn't just offer us the right of religious freedom, it offer us the right from religion. In this country, we do not have to participate in religion if we do not want to.  We can choose whatever religion we want, even if our government doesn't like it.  It doesn't matter what religion our president or his cabinet is, they do not get to impose their beliefs on us. 

As a Mayflower Descendant I am well aware that the Pilgrims came here escaping religious persecution.  What I didn't understand until I dove into my ancestry was that my grandfathers' came to America after their grandfather was burned alive for not changing religion.

I am descendent from John Rogers, widely credited with being the Editor of The Bible.  When Queen Mary "Bloody Mary" decided to turn England from Protestant to Catholic, John Rogers was the first person she burned alive.  The framers of our Constitution did not make Religious Freedom one of their number one priorities because they wanted to force someone else to believe what they believed.  They made it a priority because they didn't want to be forced to believe something they didn't, and they knew the consequences of their government being aligned with religion.

Church attendance is lower now than it has ever been.  It's not because people do not believe in God or Jesus.  It's not because they do not pray. It's because they do not like the message that is being delivered by the people running the church.  They can read the book on their own and ask their own questions, thanks to the internet, they can find dozens of interpretations of each passage.  The people of our country are smart enough to know when they are being manipulated.  We do not need our government trying to control our spiritual relationships.

Now more than ever we need political leaders who understand why our Freedom of Religion is so important and why we cannot allow our government to get involved.  We do not want to  find ourselves in a situation where religious leaders are preaching politics from the pulpit, or where politicians are demanding our participation in religion.  For years I've heard fears bubbling up that Sharia Law is coming to America, and now we are facing that reality.

We are a Republic. We are a nation of laws. Religion does not control us or our laws and now is the time for us to demand that our politicians keep their personal religious beliefs to themselves.   

 

 

 

Posted on 31 Jul 2018, 10:52 - Category: Religion

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