Column: Defining religion’s role in federal law

Column: Defining religion’s role in federal law

The First Amendment begins with “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” meaning religion cannot be the deciding factor on American laws such as marriage. The main issue with federal law and religion being intertwined is the fact that all Americans have religious freedom. If federal law followed a religion, which one would they choose?

Even though Christianity is the most practiced religion in the U.S., to adopt it as the national religion would eventually lead to the suspension of other citizen’s religious freedom. Having a primary religion would also hinder other constitutional rights we enjoy as Americans. Sure, it would be a good deal for the Christians, but what if the federal government decided that Buddhism would be the religion of America? Buddhists would be happy, but the Jewish, Catholics, Christians, etc. would not be.

Americans should not be required to think a certain way nor should we have to abide by the religious beliefs of others. The free exercise clause also forbids intolerance for all religions practiced by the American people. Some people believe having a set religion would help solve moral issues in our country; this idea is simply a fairy-tale. You simply cannot change what is in another person’s mind with religious laws. There will always be evil people in this world and unfortunately there is not a religion that can change that fact.

When it comes to the question of how big of a role should religion play on American laws, my answer is that religion is the most important personal freedom we have as Americans. However, constitutionally speaking, religion shall not play a role in federal government. The only thing worse than a country without religion is a country that forces its citizens to practice a set religion regardless of their true beliefs. America would not be as great of a nation without religious freedom. Who are we to take away religious freedom from others to please ourselves? Who are we to decide others beliefs?

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