Monday, August 27, 2012

Are Your Grandparents Special? Tell Us Why for National Grandparents Day!

Are your grandparents special? Tell us why!


Contact us at, @womenatliberty (Twitter) or Women History Makers-DC, MD, VA.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

An American Debate: Beliefs vs. Rights

by Nona Ogunsula

The recent Chick-fil-A debate that was caused by CEO Dan Cathy's comments about traditional marriage was, for me, another example of how intolerant we are becoming as a nation! There will never be an end to discrimination if people do not learn the difference between beliefs and rights. In America, your right to believe whatever you want to believe is guaranteed by the American Constitution and specifically, the Bill of Rights. Remember those? 

The very First Amendment says, 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  

These Rights along with the U.S. Constitution, are what make America a country where it is unlawful to restrict a person's, especially American Ciitizens', individual or inalienable rights without due process.  We must not forget the history from which these documents as well as the Declaration of Independence were born. It was an oppressive British government who was unduly influenced by government sanctioned religion. Unfortunately world history including Biblical history, is fraught with too many examples where people in power used religion to commit abuses and atrocities. Remember the Early Christians, The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, etc. (If not, a study of history is in order.)

So now, you have the right to believe whatever you want to believe about religion and issues like marriage, but you do not have a right to force your beliefs on others. Nor do you have a right to discriminate against others in employment, housing, public accommodations, etc. because they believe differently than you. 

The political climate in Washington DC is a reflection of the intolerance running rampant in our country and an inability of people to respectfully disagree on issues. For Christians, take note of Jesus' behavior in the temple. The only time he physically disagreed with anyone was when they were taking advantage of people in the name of God right in the House of Worship. (See John 2:12-23 or view movie clip below for a dramatic portrayal of the scripture.*) For those who are not Christians, you can't change people's behavior or beliefs by "bullying" them. Just take a look at the conflict in the Middle East! 

Lastly, we should stop asking the President of the United States to personally defend or endorse our own religious beliefs. That's not apart of the President's job description. The President takes an Oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States". We might instead think about asking the President and Congress to grant full Congressional voting rights to places like Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico where citizens are taxed without full representation.  

As stated in the Voltaire's quote below, we will assuredly disagree on matters of religion and issues of social importance, however we must never control what people believe. Not in this free country! 

*Book of John