Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It is time to rewrite the First Amendment

It is time to rewrite the First Amendment.

Sarah Palin, ex-governor of Alaska and former running mate to John McCain during the last presidential election, has entered the fight over the Mosque that is being built near Ground Zero in New York City. Palin, in an attempt to gain support from those that oppose the construction twitted that building the mosque was an “unnecessary provocation.”

Apparently, Sarah Palin doesn’t think that the founders got it right. So, based on what she and others have said, here is the rewrite to the First Amendment.

Here is the current amendment:

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.

Here is the amendment to the amendment to be inserted just after “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”:

Unless it is inconvenient for politicians and it is an unnecessary provocation to worship the way you want. We can then suspend the first part and throw out the entire idea of freedom of religion.

This would work well. As a politician you could condemn China for not allowing Christians to worship when and where they want but you could prevent Muslims here in this country from doing the same.

The Responsible Community agrees with the Federal Council of Churches of Christ with their position statement on religious issues. The position was adopted in conjunction with the Foreign Missions Conference of North America, who have a stake in assuring that religious houses can be established anywhere in the world. It reads:

“Religious Liberty shall be interpreted to include freedom to worship according to conscience and to bring up children in the faith of their parents; freedom for the individual to change his religion; freedom to preach, educate, publish and carry on missionary activities; and freedom to [organize] with others, and to acquire and hold property, for these purposes.” (1)

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, likes the First Amendment just the way it is. (and so does the Responsible Community.) He takes strong issue with Sarah Palin interfering with New York City policy. He wants the mosque to be built, perhaps no matter where the congregation want it built. He said so in a news conference after Palin had started twitting about the issue.

Mayor Bloomberg is doing everything he can to heal the wounds caused by the 9/11 tragedy. It doesn’t mean he is covering it all up and making nice. It means that he is fully aware that the tragedy was caused by people that rationalized their actions with their perverse understanding of a religion, not the other way around.

By keeping the unfocused anger alive as Sarah Palin seems to be suggesting, we risk furthering the violence. But by being rationally focused on the people that caused the tragedy instead of their religion, we can seek out specifically those that we need to and not bring more violence to innocent people all over the world.

That is where the healing begins.

(1) Religious institutions In 1944, a joint committee of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America and the Foreign Missions Conference of North America, formulated a “Statement on Religious Liberty” “Religious Liberty shall be interpreted to include freedom to worship according to conscience and to bring up children in the faith of their parents; freedom for the individual to change his religion; freedom to preach, educate, publish and carry on missionary activities; and freedom to organise with others, and to acquire and hold property, for these purposes.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_the_United_States

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