Make Religious Freedom Great Again

Donald Trump should commit to protecting the free exercise of religion for all Americans of all faiths. (Photo: Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom)

Unfortunately, under President Barack Obama’s administration, it came in for attack as never before. Thankfully, many of those attacks can be rectified in the very first days of a Trump administration.

Trump should commit to protecting the free exercise of religion for all Americans of all faiths. In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton referred to the “freedom of worship”—piety limited to a synagogue, church, or mosque. But what the American founders protected was the right of all to live out their faith every day of the week in public and in private, provided they peacefully respect the rights of others. (For more on this, see Ryan T. Anderson’s “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom)

 The reduction of religious liberty to mere freedom of worship is a hallmark of the Obama years. Houses of worship, for example, were exempted from the Department of Health and Human Services Obamacare contraception and abortifacient mandate.

But religious schools, like Wheaton College, and religious charities and communities, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, were merely “accommodated”—offered a different way to comply with the mandate while still violating their beliefs.

A Trump administration can fix this right away. Trump can instruct his secretary of Health and Human Services to provide robust religious liberty protections to the HHS mandate. And Congress can pass legislation, which Trump can sign, to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Likewise, the Obama administration has engaged in a series of executive actions—some of which were likely unlawful—to advance a radical transgender agenda. This, too, Trump can end.

For example, the Obama departments of Justice and Education have instructed school districts throughout the country that they are now interpreting a 1972 law, Title IX, to require schools to allow students to use the bathroom, locker room, and shower facility that accords with their self-declared “gender identity.” They did this by saying the word “sex” would now mean “gender identity.”

The Obama Department of Health and Human Services has done the same thing: claiming a provision in Obamacare that forbids discrimination on the basis of “sex” means “gender identity”—and thus all health care plans have to cover sex reassignment therapies, and all relevant physicians have to perform them.

Obama has also issued executive orders barring federal contractors and federal foreign aid recipients from engaging in what the government deems to be“discrimination” on the basis of “sexual orientation and gender identity”—where something as simple as saying biological males shouldn’t use female showers can count as “discrimination.”

All of this can be undone right away. Trump can rescind Obama’s executive orders, and he can instruct his secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services and his attorney general to interpret the word “sex” as Congress intended it—as a biological reality—not as “gender identity.”

Congress can then make these orders permanent by enacting the Russell Amendment, which protects freedom in religious staffing for religious institutions, and by passing the Civil Rights Uniformity Act, which specifies that the word “sex” in our civil rights laws does not mean “gender identity” unless Congress explicitly says so.

Trump should also make it clear that under his watch the federal government will never penalize any individual or institution because they believe and act on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife.

Trump can issue an executive order stating that when it comes to tax status, accreditation, licensing, government grants, and contracts, no entity of the federal government may penalize someone for acting on their conviction on man-woman marriage. To protect a future president from undoing this, Congress can pass, and Trump sign into law, the First Amendment Defense Act. Indeed, Trump promised to sign this bill into law during his campaign.

Whether it be harassing an order of nuns, forcing doctors to perform sex reassignment therapies, or preventing local schools from finding win-win compromise solutions that would respect all students’ bodily privacy, the Obama administration has waged an aggressive and unnecessary culture war.

Because it has done so almost exclusively through executive action, a Trump administration can quickly undo this damage. And Congress can then ratify it permanently in law. That’ll go a long way toward protecting peaceful coexistence, making American truly great again.

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “Make Religious Freedom Great Again

  1. The American founders, where those who fled from Europe where the churches had so much power and squeezed the people, they had enough of it. In this New World the pioneers wanted to have a world where all could live in freedom, not directed by churches limiting their right to live how they wanted and to live out their faith every day of the week in public and in private, provided they peacefully respect the rights of others. Today we see a lot of Americans who do not want other religious people that right to live in freedom and to have the right to wear their dress-code or to have their prayer houses (synagogues, mosques).

    Lots of Americans also forget that a functionary of state has to take a neutral attitude and should not let his own religious or non-religious feelings have the priority. People themselves should have the liberty to go to care houses (clinics, elderly homes) of their free choice, being able to find such places of all sorts denominations, but those of the state should be free of any religious restriction, and as such as people want change of gender, have an abortion, they should be able to do so in such places, but also the other way round religious institutions should have the right not to carry out abortions or other things which are in contradiction to their faith. all people should allow each other person to have their own choice, that is the freedom the founders where looking for.

    Like

    • Marcus, you brought your points to a place where there is a divergence from where you started. I have a theory that the backdrop for a great democracy is a great respect for God’s Word. We’ve had that here over most of the history. Roe vs. Wade changed that much as it turns out. The sanctity of life is in God’s heart. He created all of life–all of it down to the one-celled animals and even the one-celled animals give Him glory.

      I do not believe in murder because my God created life (Ten Commandments and more). Need I say more about abortion.

      The government of the USA has become more hard-lined against religious liberty and freedoms that a few years ago we just assumed.

      If you are liscensed by the state, you MUST bake a cake for homosexuals wanting marriage. You MUST prepare a floral arrangement if you are a florist for a homosexual union, though you believe that union anathema.

      Throughout our history the freedom of religion from the first amendment of the USA Constitution always applied to it’s public display. Now some believers are being forced to either violate their beliefs, be fined abusively or close their doors of business.

      There have been discussions of the Bill of Rights down through the years. I remember Jehovah Witnesses who do not believe in blood transfusion, being allowed that belief and in many instances they were allowed refusal. Mormons have several beliefs which are, shall we say, out of the mainstream of American religious thought. Federal and state government has been accommodating.

      The government has accommodated many varying beliefs until now. The Supreme Court is legislating (not allowed by the US Constitution.) My question is what is next.

      Maybe we will have a reprieve for a period after this election.

      Like

      • Neither Marcus Ampe nor other Christadelphians are in favour of abortion. He like most of our community also spend time and work in helping people to avoid coming to the point where they would go over to such act, we too consider ‘killing’. According to our insight of Scriptures man should not kill unnecessary and has no right to take the life of an other human being.
        But when people themselves decide to go over to have an abortion who are we to judge them or to curse them?

        Freedom of religion and freedom of thought includes also having the right to do things of which we do know are not right in the eyes of God, like abortion, fornication, despising the Most High Creator, having false gods, a.o., but making also that we should allow others to do such things whilst we ourselves do take care not to do such things.
        As Christians we should know we may not take blood of others, but if you want to have a blood-transfusion that is your full right. It is you who shall have to take your responsibility in front of God. If you want to be against Jehovah Witness or against other Christian denominations, like ours, who prefer to follow the Words of God instead of human doctrines, than that should be your right. That is freedom of religion and freedom of thought. The same for those who do not want ot have any religion and do not want to know about God. They in a democratic state should have the right to be free and not to be burdened by religious groups, like having bells ringing early on Sunday morning, or having people shouting from the speakers to call people to prayer.

        The general governement of a democratic state or country which calls on the constitution of rights of freedom should always think of all the people associated with their state. therefore the state schools should be free of any pushing in one or the other way, so no prayers before class starts or no religious symbols in their own places, but where other os the public come no limits should be brought unto the citizens, and as such churches , mosques , temples, synagogues should be allowed to have their particular symbols, and people should be allowed to wear clothes according the dress code of their. As such if you want to go naked on the beach and would not harm others, that should be allowed (and this perhaps on special provide nude beaches) … but the other way also if a person wants to be clothed on the beach he or she should be allowed so, and not like here in our regions where this year it was even forbidden on French beaches to come with covered arms or covered legs (absurd), though it was also forbidden not to come in churches or Christian museums with uncovered arms and legs (just the opposite of the secular places, and in a way also absurd and not recognising we should not have anything to hide in front of God, who knows our thoughts and is not afraid of some ‘naked’ flesh, whilst walking in Summer-clothes has nothing offensive, and those who can not see it are probably those who have wrong thoughts and can not control themselves).

        You write “The Supreme Court is legislating (not allowed by the US Constitution.) ” Can you give examples with the text of the constitution included where the State would go in against something written in the constitution?

        Like

        • If most American’s really understood the US Constitution and the intent of its writers they would agree that the First Amendment insures the public free exercise of religion. If you go back to the days John/Charles Wesley, George Whitfield visits to the US we understand that public proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was common place throughout the States of the time. That passed down to my early childhood where speakers could proclaim their message on sidewalks in the towns and cities around the country. I saw this with my own eyes. They did this initially without permits. They were permitted by the US Constitution in the exercise of their religious rights. Everyone understood it that way, though I am sure some did not like it.

          An example of Supreme Court “legislation” is the decision on homosexual “marriage”.
          “Federal level. In 1996, the United States Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed Public Law 104-199, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). … On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote that the Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.” Much too sweeping to be “enacted” by a Court ruling. Same with abortion, i.e., without legislation.

          Like

      • In a democracy, those who believe in the Most High Divine Creator should have full respect for their Maker as well as for the one god allows to be in charge of the nation. Like Jesus taught his followers to have respect for the Caesar and the system which was ruling over them, we too should be humble and accept the vote of the majority. We also should know that real believers in God are the minority and that those who are children of God would have to follow their heart but also have to protect and come up for the weaker ones and for those who are at the marginal site of the society (tramps, transgender, psychopaths, criminals, the ill and poor). as Christians, i.e. followers of Christ we may not exclude any one, even not our worst enemy. for all people around us we should have an open hand, an open heart and a listening ear. For all around us we should be prepared to help and to be ready to come to be there for them.

        Papapound and others, you may not think i would be ‘for’ abortion; Not at all. I am against abortion. But I do know that in certain cases choices can be made which we would not prefer. We always have to take into account the circumstances a person came into such situation she has to make such a difficult choice … because do know often it is not such an easy choice. When a person is a victim of rape, who are we to going to decide that woman does not want any remembrance of her rapist facing her every day of her further life?
        I know she could have taken the ‘morning after pill’, but that is by many also already considered ‘abortion’ or something ‘not to be done’. I my self would not like to see some needing or willing to take such a drug. But in a society where there should be freedom of thought I should respect the choice of the other person. I have not right to decide over the body and/or mind of others. As such it is also not to me to judge those who are born in a body and afterwards do feel like it is not their body nor their personality.

        If a boy feels he is really a girl, wants to be recognised as a woman and finds in the medical world the solution to help him to get a body that feels like ‘her’, who I am to forbid such a choice? The same for a girl who has the feeling she is a male being and wants to take part in the male activities as an equal?

        God has given man talents and the medical profession is one of the higher goods God provided for man. In case the medical world can bring solutions for people who are not feeling right in their skin, why should they not have the free choice to co what they want with their body?
        Also those who have part of their body male and part of it female, why should they stay excluded from a normal life in our present society? I do agree two centuries ago those people could only survive by acting in circuses and to be a rarity on fairs. did we not come more civilised?
        Have we no better feelings for such people who are confined in a tortured body and soul?

        For homosexuals, transgender and people Christians do have difficulties with, they should be able to go to places for care where there is no objection to their choice of being or against their longings, like having children and caring for a family.

        I am against a state pampering and overruling everything and everybody. Also the ‘overcorrection’ and absurdities like not allowing schools to use the word ‘mother’, ‘mom’, ‘mams’, dad’, papa’ is just absurd, the same as those who do not want that we use the word “zwarte piet” (black Pete) and may not have those helpers of Saint Nicolas have black painted faces).

        But I also disagree with the state ruling that Catholic or Protestant hospitals have to do things against their faith. If people want to have something done to them of which we religious people would not agree to, they should have the right to go to other places where such things can be done to them.

        The same for the uniforms in schools. I totally with states who (like the Belgian government) forbid in state schools that children wear any religious symbol. That goes in against the freedom of choice and against the respect of man himself and of his religious choice. In a state or provincial school each pupil should be free to wear any religious symbol, be it a cross, a fish, a David star, a yarmulke, a headscarf, a long dress, cloths which cover arms and legs, decent shorts or trousers. But when a Muslim wants to go to a Christian school he or she can not complain about the uniform he or she has to wear and has to go swimming with both sexes in the swimming pool, though I can accept they can demand separate clothing rooms for male and females) It is their free choice to go to whatever denominational or non-denominational school. when somebody goes to a Bible-school he or she can not complain that before classes start there is been read from the Bible and been said prayers and that even at times they have it about a three-headed god. those who only want to worship The Only One True God should make their choice in such a way that the children are brought up in a Christian, Jewish or Islam way, respecting that Oneness of God.

        Having religious/and/or ethic or liberal education an obligated subject, all schools in Belgium are obligated to offer 5 main religious denominations plus ethics or morals. I do know in the United States of America they still do not have such a provision, mainly because conservative Christians would be against such a system, but also one may find such education is not at all the task of the governement and that should be something each individual family should have to decide for themselves. But then this would create that children do not know about the other religions. Like in our country all children have to learn about the other religions and about the other philosophies, as such avoiding that the citizens would grow up with wrong ideas about the other religion, something which we can clearly see in the United states. In the US.A. lots of Americans have a totally wrong concept of the other Christian denominations and even worse about the other religious groups, in particular the Islam. Because in the States nobody was obliged to read the Bible nor the Quran they can not openly properly discuss with each other and see where certain groups claim things which are not written in those holy Scriptures.

        Only knowledge can safeguard the future of a state and not like we can see the bad evolution now of many states (even the Belgian state) trying to keep their youngsters dumb and not thinking for themselves. a really dangerous evolution. (As a teacher I myself had the last ten years of my career, to lower the level of the courses each subsequent year and had to see the degradation of the bachelor, Licences and Masters degrees, not only until I retired, but saw it continuing and schools aiming for better evaluation marks and more people coming out with so called high cyphers but less knowledge.)

        The freedom spoken off in the constitution of France, America and some other countries based on the French revolution was made to guarantee each individual’s freedom. Each citizen of a state should have the right to make his or her own choices concerning the own body and concerning himself or herself. If we want to belief in One True God, that should be our right. If we want to worship that Maker of the Universe, that should be our right. But others who want to worship trees, planets or do find such things rubbish should have the right to worship or not to worship anything.

        Also for what people want to eat, all should have the freedom to eat and drink whatever they want, like for all things, as long they do not hinder other persons with it. If you want to pork meat or blood, that is your full right, but if a Jew or Muslim does not want to eat pork that should be his or her right too, and nobody may force him or her to do so. The same for people like me, who prefer to eat more vegetables and prefer to eat natural non-tampered foods, we should have the right and the possibility to have vegetarian or veganist or kosher or halal meals.

        It looks like such allowances to others seems to be something very difficult to cope with by North Americans. When I hear certain Christians talk about the amendments and their freedom, they often only think about their own denomination and their own particular choices. a great example is the use of weapons. How can it be that a Christian would carry or would use weapons and even teach their children to use guns? though those so called Christians living in the United states of America call it their inexorable law.

        All those American Christians should remember that “Freedom means not limiting the freedom of others, but that they themselves should also always keep to the teachings they so call promote. As such we as Christians should promote Life (and not death by the use of weapons or by medical tools) and should promote peace and respectfulness for all around us, even when they are not of the same opinion like us.

        Like

        • I have some questions about a previous discussion.

          How do you believe that Germany is doing with the massive immigration the nation has taken on?

          How is Belgium doing with the immigration they’ve taken on?

          Do you believe Muslims should have the privilege of court under Shariah law in Belgium or Belgium law only? Is that occurring?

          Like

          • As well as for Germany, Holland and Belgium the so called “massive immigration” may not be over exaggerated. When we take the amount of people entering the country, which is quite huge, it is still not a lot of people when they would be spread all over the country. That is what both those countries try to do. We also must admit we need additional youngsters or new workforce to cope with the elderly retired people who have to be taken care of and in certain fields there are not enough employees any more.

            for those who tried to enter the country they are thoroughly screened and the ones who came in to Europe for the wrong or false reasons are send back to their home country. Germany and Belgium are making a serious work of it and their filtering seems to work. “Bad guys” are sent back and we can see the inflow diminished because the news spreads that it is ‘serious business” with the Belgian and German authorities. For France it is still a different matter where we can see that instead of putting those people, who everywhere over the country try to make settlements, in different camps all over the country, the police often brake up an encampment but sends them away so that they can settle down somewhere else … and the same problem starts all over again.

            when spreading the people all over the country, making sure they do not settle down in ghettos, a lot of problems can be avoided and integration can be made more fluently.

            When Muslims want to have Shariah law for them they should know the hands or feet may be cut off, and I do agree we would see lots of immigrants or Muslim children with only one arm. But each country taking in different religious groups should make it clear that there are the general laws of the country which should be respected and if they do not want those there is no obligation to stay in that country … so every body is free to leave if they do not like it. for the immigrants they have the choice either to go back to their country or to accept the way of living in our country. If they can not accept a boy and a girl or two people from the same sex holding hands, they have the choice not to do it themselves but can not hinder those who want to do that. This is the same for Hindus, Jews but also for Christians, they too should accept that others in their country may have an other life than the one they prefer to live.

            You write “If most American’s really understood the US Constitution and the intent of its writers they would agree that the First Amendment insures the public free exercise of religion. ” but today we can see that a lot of Americans, including Christian Americans, do not want to allow a freedom of religion and react violently against non-trinitarian Christians and other worshippers of the One and Only True God, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah. Lots of Americans are against other faiths, though according to the constitution those different faiths should also receive a place in the Land of the free.

            Concerning Muslims and/or Jews having Sharia or Jewish laws in the country where they are living, in both instances they have the same God and the same Laws as Christians should have, where it is indicated that they should honour the person in charge and follow the laws of the country. For those who go against their faith They should not go into it. For example in a country allows two people of the same sex to marry with each other and they do not think it is according the law of their religion they should not allow two persons of the same sex marry with each other. In case such persons of that religious group still want to do such an act they should have the freedom to leave that religious group or that religious group should have the freedom to dis-fellowship them. As such that is the freedom given to both parties in our country.

            For the halal and/or kosher killing the state provides places where this can be done, so in case people slaughter an animal in private and unacceptable manner they are (and should) be punished by the governement. Imams in our country also call up people to come to the accepted slaughter places, but I do agree not enough Muslims are making use of it.

            There are many Muslims (like Christians and Jews) who consider certain things “Law” by their religion, but which are not a law according to their holy Scriptures, and such traditional ‘laws’ or ‘rules’ a governement should never allow to take place, like the ‘blood debt’. If they want such unlawful killing to take place they should go to live in a country where such vendetta is accepted, but shall have to face punishment in our regions, according to the state laws and not by people taking right in their own hands. Another matter is FGM. The religious people who want to carry out a circumcision are allowed to do that by a person who is authorise to do that [rabbi or Imam or even better a doctor (who does it also by Christians)], but women circumcision is nothing scriptural and as such is prohibited. The same for clothing, certain extremist teachers want women totally covered, though this is not demanded by the Quran. If they want to wear a scarf or nihab, that is allowed in Belgium, but the burqa is an other matter. There all sorts of people, also men and those with a bad mind can hide underneath it or carry weapons underneath it. so for the general safety this is prohibited, but as a safety officer I have difficulty with the ban often not applied, and we being unable to act on. As such in France and Belgium we still might see people walking in Burqa though it is prohibited. In France we do have the other silly opposite, my wife and myself encountered also on the beaches of France, we being not allowed onto the beach because we did not wear prescribed beach wear, not having bare chests and bare limbs. On several websites you may read about this silly French law about the prohibition of burqunis what has nothing to do with burqa’s, but concerns decent and often even fashionable bathing costumes.

            France is a very strange contradictory country which is going the way of the United states, becoming less tolerant and in vigilance with its own constitutional laws. For example whilst we were not allowed to walk on certain beaches because our body did not show up enough bare flesh, in the same clothing we were not allowed to enter Catholic domains (churches, abbeys) because we showed too much bare flesh.

            Particular right wing groups made people much afraid for the Muslims, though people do forget by the many terrorist attacks in France and Belgium as well in other countries many innocent Muslims where also killed. those terrorist may try to tell that those victims are casual martyrs of the Islam, but they like the other citizens are victim of criminals which have nothing to do with the real Islam.

            Making people afraid for distorted ideas is always wrong and a governement in charge should try to avoid such thing; In case people come in charge to use such fear as a weapon to enlarge their power it becomes a very dangerous situation; And that is what the United States as well as Europe should have in mind when they see the evolution of people like Trump, Farage, Wilders, le Pen, De Winter and others gaining field.

            Like

            • So, you are saying there are assimulation issues with some sects of Muslims and I expected that. But it does not seem there are issues yet with Muslims either living under Shariah law in their communities nor demanding it from the Belgium, German, or French courts.

              Are there no-go zones of Muslims in these countries as there are in Sweden where it is too dangerous for citizens to tread into Muslim communities?

              Like

              • There are many different groups of Muslims of which some even are against each other. You can compare it with Christendom where there are many denominations and some of which who would call an other denomination not belonging to their religion. As such many Catholics and protestants do not consider us Christians, because we do not believe in the Trinity. The other way round Christadelphians, like Messianic Jews, Nazarene Friends, Restoration Church, Church of God, Jehovah’s Witnessess and several other non-trinitarians consider themselves part of Christianity and the others part of Christendom, though some of them, like I and my fellow brethren and sisters consider the trinitarian Christians also part of the body of Christ and do not exclude such people, whilst JW for example shall not favour mixed contact.

                In the Muslims groups over here we can see theree may be many arguments, the same we find several arguments by the Christian denominations, but the majority of those Muhammadans are friendly to other Islamic and non-Islamic people, living in the knowledge that “Islam” means “peace”.

                Many of the second and third generation were able to assimilate and to live as ordinary citizens between other non-believing and believing people.

                Though we must confess that like in every country in big cities problems arises when their are ghetto’s. as such we can find places where there are certain Muslims from one or an other group living as a separate unit. With the evolution in Turkey this has proven to be a problem with two different Turkish groups living in the Limburg, some of them spreading hate and going against people from the Gulem movement.

                In Antwerp there where zones where one could find a concentration of Muslims but where that did not create so much problems. Otherwise in that city the Chines where a few years ago ruling at certain places, than the Russians and now the Albanian maffia. But therre are no such no go zones like we can find in the capital.

                In Brussels there are really some problematic zones, but not always just because of Muslims, though they have recently become the main target for the media. the Muslim community catched sight not so much for theological or religious matters, but for criminal matters, having loitering teens. There are certain quarters where malrats make life difficult for the other local residents. About their petty-crimes many Belgians would find it a joke when the sharia law would be used for them. (I agree than we would find in some quarters in Brussels lots of youngsters with one or no hands and without a tongue)

                When working in the capital I did not go shopping in certain areas and when having to pass certain streets (because of my work) I had always my doors locked and tried to stay calm when youngsters ran over my car. But let me assure you to call them all Muslim would be wrong. also to call all Roma thieves would be similarly wrong, though they make the biggest part of thieves, whilst the Albanians are doing their best in the drug- and sex-scene.

                The majority of Muslims accept the Belgian law though demands for some more tolerance for certain customs, like the halal killing, and for more aceptance of other Muslim communities than those who are accepted in the Moslim Raad (Muslim Council). It is namely so that in Belgium we have different official religions which are accepted by the governement and taken up in the educational system also. But like any official religion, you shall have others which are not taken into the council to have their say in the general or daily politics.
                For example of the five official religions or faith and ethic groups: Judaism, Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Atheism/Layism, Humanism are offered as choice in the schools. But for the protestantism children were until recently only allowed to choose between the Belgian Protestant Church, Dutch Reformed Church, Anglicanism, and at some places Calvinism and/or Lutheranism) whilst at the Bible schools the majority offered only Pentecostalism. Only the last few years an opening was given to the non-trinitarians, but there only the Jehovah Witnesses is recognised and can give their religious class.
                For the Muslims the choice is given between some Shiite and Sunnite groups (though I do not know quite which ones in those directions are allowed and given, two years ago it where 7 different denominations).
                Hindus, Buddhists and other religious groups may, like all other religious people, take their religious holidays on their specific days. Children at school are then given leave for that day.

                This way, taking care of all sorts of religious groups and all sorts of peoples, problems are/where avoided.

                Only the last few years (~10 years) problems started occurring concerning clothing. We have seen a growing amount of more conservative Christians and conservative Muslims who started making problems where there were previously none.
                Big problem became the Muslim community where the Ummah or Muslim Brotherhood had a big say and where the Syrian conservative Muslims tried to influence other Muslims and non-muslims. The Caliphate managed to get lots of Belgians (also many from Catholic families) inspired and even got them to go to fight in Syria and Iraq as well as in other places, plus also making them to bring terror in Europe. (Belgium delivered the highest percentage of European Muslim fighters and several terror acts where organised from Belgium).

                A big problem there was that the other Muslim groups for too long stayed quiet and only started telling people that ISIS was not Islam, when too much damage was already done.

                Now those different Muslim groups also have to face those very conservative (read “extreme”) Muslims who started making issues by clothing themselves more like in the Arab and conservative Islamic countries. But this we can see also in a country like Turkey, that has totally turned from a modern civic state to a dictatorial conservative Muslim state.

                With our population having several areas above the general 25% Muslims (so lots more than in the U.S.A.), not just by name, like we have name Christians, those active religious people did not yet demand sharia law and probably would never do that. But they, with all other religious people, may count on the co-operation of the governement to create a country where different sorts of peoples, no matter what colour of skin, or whatever origin, or whatever language they may speak at home, [though the country asks to all that they should try to get to know one of our three official languages (Dutch, French and/or German)].

                It is that open mind and that way of thinking about freedom that makes it work. In case one or the other group tries to limit the freedom of the other than things would come in unbalance and than problems will start to come.

                It is also for that reason that the people demand real measures for those Muslims who entered the country recently and could not accept that other Muslim girls walked on the street like any other atheist/Christian woman would do. When in a refugee camp some Muslims attacked other Muslims because of such clothing matter, the ones causing the problem where imprisoned and hopefully sent back. And that is what they and we in the west should do with all those who cannot agree to allow others their freedom. Nobody is obliged to live here, but if they want to live in our democracy they should adopt accordingly. In the house they may do whatever they like as long as they do not hurt other people. If the European way of living does not suit them they are always welcome to go back to where they came from. (Why did they left when they want the rules from where they came from, imposed on us?)

                We may be happy that (for the moment) the majority of the Muslims, like all other citizens accept and respect the courts of our counties. but in the near future those courts in Holland, Germany, Luxemburg, and France should make sure they shall not give in to populism and shall react to any controversial law taken by local majors. (2016 has seen absurd rules taken by right wing towns and villages, which went totally in against ‘liberty, fraternity and equality’ where the French went onto the barricades in the 19th century.)

                Like Europe can use some new blood the states shall need some fresh ones as well. And when offering enough opening to different choices of religion and freedom of living and clothing, people should not worry so much. Multiculturalism has proven always to be better and more enriching than seclusion and self contained segregated states.

                Like

                • Thanks for the input that is helpful for you are in a country which has more Muslims and is dealing with some of the problems experienced by an increased percentage of Muslims. I believe that Americans want a vetting process that prevents terrorist types to come “cloaked” as a refugee but actually a terrorist.

                  I’d like to ask about this statement:
                  We may be happy that (for the moment) the majority of the Muslims, like all other citizens accept and respect the courts of our counties. but in the near future those courts in Holland, Germany, Luxemburg, and France should make sure they shall not give in to populism and shall react to any controversial law taken by local majors. (2016 has seen absurd rules taken by right wing towns and villages, which went totally in against ‘liberty, fraternity and equality’…

                  Can you elaborate on the absurd moves that these towns took?

                  Like

                  • In Nice and several other places at the sea people where only allowed when in for them suited or regular beach wear, meaning monikini, string or bikini for a woman and a short swim ‘panties’ or ‘briefs’ or a string. No full swimsuit for ladies no shorts or Bermuda model for men. As such my wife and I were not allowed on some beaches in the South of France this year. (Our arms and legs where not freely visible, they had to be naked.)

                    Some right wing parties also wanted to close down the mosques (in France) or (in Belgium) wanted to forbid Catholic schools to have a prayer room or mosque for their Muslim students. This ruling had never a chance getting far, having been demanded by a very tiny minority. But it is absurd such thing was even proposed.

                    Liked by 1 person

                  • In Flanders, the right wing party Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) also wanted the burqini forbidden at the Belgian coast, but luckily other parties had more common sense to see that such clothing has nothing dangerous and should be no reason to offend some one.

                    Is it not funny in France or other countries where there is a burqini ban that a few years back there was so much commotion about the bikini showing too much of the body and now when there comes again swimwear covering more parts of the body this would receive rejection, that in a country where by the Roman Catholics people with bare arms and legs are not allowed in church. (We too had it this year in France; we were not allowed in two churches and one abbey, and in an other monument they looked strange, because in our Summer clothing we had some bare skin.)

                    Like

  2. Marcus said: Having religious/and/or ethic or liberal education an obligated subject, all schools in Belgium are obligated to offer 5 main religious denominations plus ethics or morals. I do know in the United States of America they still do not have such a provision, mainly because conservative Christians would be against such a system, but also one may find such education is not at all the task of the government and that should be something each individual family should have to decide for themselves.

    I think it is the latter. We have ruled and legislated religion/spiritual beliefs out of schools and marketplace. There is spiritual drought in America.

    Marcus said: …trying to keep their youngsters dumb and not thinking for themselves. a really dangerous evolution.

    This has happened in America also and it is so sad that so many are not prepared for the job market and the world as it is presented to them.

    Marcus said: How can it be that a Christian would carry or would use weapons and even teach their children to use guns?

    America has a different cultural heritage and Constitution than other cultures. I don’t believe that there is no hunting in Belgium. There is lots of hunting in America. Hunting is a big sport. That is the main purpose for the love of guns. Also it puts meat on the table (I eat meat–I used to be a vegetarian). Are guns used irresponsibly–every day. I put that mostly to lack of guidance from elders and the welfare state.

    Marcus: if a Jew or Muslim does not want to eat pork that should be his or her right too, and nobody may force him or her to do so.

    Jews and Muslims aren’t forced in America.

    Marcus: As such we as Christians should promote Life (and not death by the use of weapons or by medical tools) and should promote peace and respectfulness for all around us, even when they are not of the same opinion like us.

    I have no disagreement with these points.

    Like

    • In Belgium there is also hunting and people also do eat meat of untamed animals or venison. But hose in charge of the hunt have to go through a selection and have to pass the exams for hunting. But when they are Christians they too should keep in mind what God expects from us how to treat the things we want to eat. We may not kill animals nor plants just for pleasure and may not waste food, as such only do it out of necessity and for necessity (e.g. keeping a balance).
      But such weapon-carrying should never be for carrying it as a defence weapon or to use against human beings, and that is what many Christian Americans learn. In Europe we have seen lots of examples where the target when practising is a figure of a human being.

      Christian always should promote life and should be ready for those who have problems concerning life matters. Anti-conception is also part of such life matters, to avoid worse decisions. Every civilised country should make it that there should be no reason to discuss abortion. the same every country should protect its citizens that no accidents or no crimes can be done by dangerous tools, like all sorts of guns. why should a citizens being able to buy war guns, or even pistols (which are not much use for hunting I think), but also why would people have to be allowed to wear certain knifes when they are not working on the field or in the wild or on hunt? Certain knifes can well be accepted in certain occasions but not in others, the same for certain rifles.
      But as Christians we should not carry guns at all. Even if you want to eat wild flesh, the hunting can be done by others, let them do it. Plants, animals, human beings are all creatures of God we should respect. We may not tamper with our food and may not spill or kill living things unnecessary or for fun.

      Like

      • “Carrying” a gun is NOT the issue in America. Of course hunting is not the issue. If caught killing in wanton waste, there are high fines. If it continues, you go to jail. We have laws for all your concerns. Not sure where you are getting your data on gun use and waste in America.

        Like

        • Marcus you said: (I agree than we would find in some quarters in Brussels lots of youngsters with one or no hands and without a tongue)

          Do you think this happened in your country? Or, did these come to Brussels in this condition?

          Would you be targeted if you sketched a man put it on line and called it Muhammad?

          Can you speak freely about Muhammad and his teachings on the streets on your city?

          Like

          • That was a sarcastic remark, that in case the Muslims would have required sharia law to be part of Belgian law we could find several Muslims having cut something away from their body because of them having misused it (by stealing or by using vile language).

            Like

          • In France as well as in our and other countries there are Muslims who see that a drawing of any man who might look like an Arab or like a Muslim, that has not to be a portrait of the prophet. Certain satirical papers, like Charlie Hebdo, are also read by a few Muslims. The same as many Catholics are offended by certain cartoons we have also Muslims offended in the same way and often reacting in a similar way. But to ask the head of a person or someone to be killed for drawing the prophet is not something which the majority of Muslims did or would call for in our regions.

            Naturally we can and for sure I (and others) do talk freely about Muhammad and his teachings on the streets and on other public places. Some middle aged and older Muslims do find it interesting. Youngsters do have more problems with it. For example two young families in my neighbourhood do not want to discuss the Quran with me, Whilst with an other family I regularly (more than twice a week, have discussions about faith, God and the Quran).

            With many Muslims living in our street I have a good rapport. Only in 1 occasion I had some words or trouble with a Chechen Muslim family, when my neighbour had hurt his younger sister because she did not want to go for the marriage he arranged for her (she was then 14). I took her in my house for protection and called the Youth protection service who took her away from that family) But soon after that incident and me telling what could be and what was not allowed in our country we befriended again and continued to arrange many things for them, even helped with the court case (because he was called up and got fined for wounding the girl).

            You ask
            “Would you be targeted if you sketched a man put it on line and called it Muhammad?”

            Probably when those people of ISIS, Boko Haram, AlQuada, The true Faith or any other extreme Islamic organisation would come to see it on line, than yes they would target me; But from people in Belgium I do not think so. I also do not receive negative remarks from Muslims on my articles on several internet sites.

            I think the Americans are being too much afraid of Muslims, thinking they are all such bad guys as the extreme fighters who do lots of things which are against Quran teaching. ISIS does even things if one of us would do that we would be not just targetted but even killed for doing so. In case we would do certain things ISIS does (like putting mosques and Qurans on fire) Belgian and other European Muslims would certainly protest against such an action done by us.

            Like

            • I am glad you feel safe surrounded by Muslims. That is a good thing. But, but but, if there is no compulsion in religion why does some “authority” in Islam in another country presume an Allah-given authority to issue a fatwa threatening a life when that person draws a carton of Muhammad or writes derogatory things about Quranic verses in a book. This is insanity, messed up genes or something to me. It is Jihad in it’s rawest form and inhuman at a minimum. Why doesn’t international tribunals on such topics get called and shame the haters among the barbarians who promote such. Why is the civilized world not willing to call on Islamic leaders to put a stop to this. And, next question is can they? I think not because it is not controllable.

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Added commentary to the posting A Progressive Call to Arms | Stepping Toes

Would you like to add your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: