I Guess it Depends on the Meaning of the word “Freedom”.

Once again, I am confused. This does occur periodically and I find it highly frustrating, but it does make good fodder for a blog post, so I’ll appreciate it for the silver lining it offers and just go with it.

Let me first point out the impetus for this diatribe, which is this article about a judge ordering a school district (and a band director, mind you) to apologize to an agnostic family about some words both misspoken and posted online. The comments involved parties to a complaint by the agnostic family regarding prayers at a high school commencement ceremony, primarily. I’m not familiar with the case and there seems to be more to it than that. But that’s not where I’m headed with this.

What struck me was that, in his decision to require the apology to (as well as a required ACCEPTANCE of the apology from) the family, which would lead one to believe the judge was being objective and respectful of the family’s beliefs (or non-beliefs), he writes as part of his decision that they might benefit from a certain bible passage:

“Moreover, the court does not expect plaintiffs to become Traditional Christians, though the court suggests plaintiffs might follow the moral and civility lessons of Matthew 5:39 (‘if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’) and a portion of ‘Essay on Criticism’ (‘to err is human; to forgive, divine’).”

Are you kidding me? Is the judge saying to these folks, basically, you may not believe what we believe and the law allows that, but we’re going to make our judgements based on that belief anyway, whether you like it or not, you heathens?

Before anyone jumps on me, consider this. What if the judge had used, instead of  a reference to something from King James, what if he had used a reading from the Koran? Something heartfelt and all about fairness, but still from the Qu’ran? I wonder how that would go over. Like a lead balloon, I hope.

And what does his honor mean when he says the court does not expect plaintiffs to become “Traditional Christians”? Is he saying that, as long as they become some kind of Christians, that will do just fine?

I am agnostic. It basically means I don’t believe you can prove whether there is or is not a god. That’s what I believe. We go on and on and on in this country about everyone’s right to believe what they want. Freedom of religion. Silly rabbits, here we were thinking that translated into “freedom to believe what you believe”. We’ve been fooled, haven’t we? Agnostics & atheists have become the red-headed step children of our time.

My mother-in-law passed away a year and a half ago. When we lose someone close to us, everyone we come in contact with either has no idea what to say, or they want to leave  you with pearls of wisdom that will hopefully benefit you both, somehow. I can’t even remember who this woman was, but an older lady was speaking to me and she made a point of touching my arm when she spoke. Looking directly into my eyes she made a passionate statement about my mother in law and how blessed she was and didn’t I agree, wholeheartedly, that her maker would take her in his arms and be her everlasting comfort.

I am a polite person, and I see no need to slap someone down for trying to be kind. Putting my hand over hers, I began to thank her and thought this would be the end of the conversation. Unfortunately, she really wanted a reply from me.  She actually said “You do agree, don’t you?”. Honestly, I felt ill over it. I’m not going to lie, but what am I to say to her?

“Nope, sorry, don’t agree at all. She’s just taking the old dirt nap and life goes on. Suck it up.”

Um, no. I was really uncomfortable, so I did one of those squinting, forced smile, nodding my head things, patted her hand again, and then made as if to hurry off to speak to someone that had to be calling my name from some distance away. Coming mother!!!!

And don’t even get me started on the current flock of presidential candidates and their “beliefs”. That’s for another post.

My husband likes to tell me that this country was founded by god fearing men. I think they basically gave us rules based on our natural freedoms. At least that’s how I’ve always interpreted the constitution and why we’ve fought so hard against tyranny lo these many eons. I can’t believe that were were supposed to become a country that forces religion upon our citizens. I believe I can know the difference between right and wrong, deity not withstanding.  I don’t want your beliefs forced on me any more than you want mine forced on you. Can’t we all just get along?

Bless.

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