Religious freedom is one of the greatest assets we have as Americans. I think Thomas Jefferson did a great job of summing up what religious freedom really means when hesaid “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are 20 gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” While Thomas Jefferson had religious freedom all figured out it doesn’t seem like many Americans do.
Last week three men from Concord, South Carolinawere handing out flyers for an upcoming Vacation Bible Schoolto students outside of P.S. 282 – first through fifth grade. A number of parents were offended by the fliers and didn’t want them to be handed to their kids. One mother said “I know this church. Every summer they truck these kids up to proselytize. It’s a brand of Christianity that’s homophobic and homogeneous, and I find it oppressive to have three white guys standing there making it impossible for kids to pass without taking a flier.” One father was especially offended by the fliers because the school serves kids with gay parents and families of all religions. He said “These outsiders fromSouth Carolina are showing little respect for our school, our neighborhood, our diversity, and our values here inBrooklyn. Perhaps if they really want to honor God they could go to some disadvantaged areas of the city and feed the poor.”
Richard Johnson, Pastor of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church, said “It’s really sad that a group like the gay and lesbian crowd that preaches a message of tolerance can be so very intolerant of somebody else that may happen to have a little bit of a different view. There are some who are opposed to the message of Christianity and we understand that – but they took it to the next stop and verbally attacked us – when we did not pick a fight.” Johnson went on to say that the flyers were “very generic and “non offensive.” “The gay marriage agenda is the farthest thing from that particular series of events.”
On Tuesday night multiple pro-choice activists broke into and vandalized Mason’s home. Mason said “Apparently, the pro-choice crowd has no more compassion for born children than they do for the pre-born.” The pro-abortion vandals threw a heavy rock through his front door and spray painted vulgarities and images of coat hangers on his house at 1:30 A.M. Mason and his wife were featured in a Newsweek magazine article last week were they talked about the successes of the Personhood movement. Mason said immediately after the Newsweek piece went online the comment board “went crazy.” “One of the early comments was that my wife should be raped and forced to carry the baby.” Another commenter went on to say that Mason should be neutered and killed.
Mason wasn’t the only Personhood USA member to be attacked this week. Evvert Stadig, a 69-year-old Personhood volunteer, stopped outside a grocery store to get signatures on a petition. Stadig asked one man to stand who responded by yelling “I’m pro-choice!” and according to Stadig used very foul language. Stadig tried to explain to him that being ‘pro-choice’ meant pro-abortion, and again urged him to sign. The man walked away but returned less than a minute later, still yelling and cursing. Stadig said “he grabbed my petition pad, and with the same movement threw me to the ground, and I was hurt so bad I couldn’t get up.” Later Stadig found that his hip was broken and that he would need a replacement. It’s crazy that something like this could happen inAmerica. Apparently just like their opinion on abortion, being civilized human beings is also “a choice.”
The greatest thing about the first amendment is that we have the right to disagree with each other. Sure people may be offended by your opinion, but that’s just part of life. We’re all entitled to an opinion, but the problem begins when you go from making your opinion known to hurting people. Progress will never be made if you won’t listen to what the other person has to say, vandalize their home, break their hip, or ban their religious views just because you don’t agree. Once the civilized debate begins so will the progress.
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