The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns Freedom of Religion. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that Americans can worship how we choose without the government forcing any religion on us. This Constitutional guarantee has not always protected people from the religious persecution by other people.
Several of my ancestors were early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of other Christian churches did not approve of the statements made by the Prophet Joseph Smith about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ being two separate Personages with glorified bodies of flesh and bones. My ancestors were among those members of the Church who moved from Kirtland, Ohio, to Jackson County, Missouri, to Nauvoo, Illinois, and finally to the Salt Lake Valley in order to enjoy the freedom to worship how, where, or what they chose.
Latter-day Saints understand what happens when people decide that some religions are not as equal as other religions. One reason why some members of the LDS Church did not vote for Donald Trump was his comments about Muslims. People with common sense will not long wonder how LDS people feel about the comments that John Kerry made about the Israelis.
In particular, we do not like the way Kerry told the Israelis that Israel “can be Jewish or it can be democratic.” He was basically telling the Israelis that they have to give up their religion if they want to have a democracy. It was an idiotic statement. Can you imagine what would happen here in the United States if any government official made this same statement to a Mormon, Catholic or Muslim – or any other religion?
I would like to believe that the offending official would be forced to resign from his position within minutes of making such a statement. Yet, nothing anyone in the Obama administration surprises me. I often feel fear when I hear their words, but not surprise.
Freedom of Religion is a right given to us by Heavenly Father. It does not come from the government; therefore, the government cannot take it away from Americans and should not even try to take it away from people in other nations. I will be grateful when January 20, 2017, arrives and we have a new President!