Sunday, April 13, 2008

Freedom of Religion

Once again the recent actions of government open the door to a topic of concern to the conservative thinker. No individual who cares about liberty should simply listen to what the media says without raising questions regarding constitutional issues.

Although it is important to protect the welfare of children it is also important to assure that the government is not permitted to overstep its authority in order to attack a religious group that might practice things which are not accepted as the norm by society at large though not breaking any law in the practice of that religion.

Even if one child had managed to make a cell phone call from the phone of a construction worker does that give the government the right to take into protective custody as many as four hundred or so children? Is that a bit of an overreaction? Is that a government overstepping its boundaries and violating people’s religious freedoms?

Had the government made any attempt to ascertain if accusations of child endangerment were factual before removing a large number of children from a polygamist cult? Or was it simply an opportunity to force a government’s laws upon people who might be guilty of nothing more than practicing a religion which is not acceptable to many others.

Since it is only now that the children are being questioned under what can only be seen as an act of terrorism by these children will they say the truth or be goaded into saying those things which the government wants them to say. Can we at this point in time even believe that what we are told the children say has any merit? Did they even say such things after the fact or is that a convenient contrivance of government.

People talk about the way the children lived in a group which is out of step with mainstream America wearing odd clothing and doing without the finer things of life. Well, isn’t that their prerogative as Americans? Do you want the government to be the arbiter of religious dogma?

As conservatives we are bound by moral belief to allow others to pursue their way of life as much as we pursue our own way of life. It is easy to allow government to take such actions without being questioned by the majority. Simply hint at child abuse and child rape and most people will say hang them without even considering all of the facts.

But when we do that we set ourselves up as the next potential victim of government intolerance. It is important that each of us as conservatives gain as much factual information as is possible before we jump to any conclusion.

What if the people who had their children taken away were some branch of Judaism? After all some of those folk wear some pretty strange articles of clothing and have some beliefs that others might consider odd at best.

What about some of the things believed and practiced by the Catholic Church? Some people find their beliefs to be out of step with fundamentalist Christianity. Should the government be able to take into protective custody many children of a parish where a priest has been accused or even convicted of child molestation?

I don’t want to see anyone get away with hurting a child. But at the same time I don’t want to see my governing authorities make a raid such as in Texas in order to allegedly protect those children without having first obtained the necessary documentation proving that any child is in danger.

The end result will prove to be that no one of us will be permitted to give any form of religious instruction to our children. That is not the principles upon which this country was built. That is not conservative thinking.

Some have suggested that the government used such tactics so as to avoid a Waco type incident moving in fast and hard. So if that is the case are we to conclude that it is now acceptable to use such tactics simply because of an operation which was completely screwed up by Janet Reno?

The continued violation of peoples religious and civil rights is not an acceptable response to the Waco blunder. It is mandatory that a full investigation of the incident be carried out by the Justice Department in order to determine the timeline of events and fully review all legal procedures.

It is necessary to do this not simply to protect a group the practices of which most find offensive, but in order to assure that each of us retains our constitutional rights. Anything less would be a violation of conservative principles!

Mayflower Descendant
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