For the second time in as many days, I've been assaulted by an email from someone in my family or extended family. No, I didn't say I've been assaulted IN an email, but BY an email.
I am a Christian, with what I consider to be Christian values (remember "Love thy neighbor," and "Do unto others"?), but I do not insist that my family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, blog-readers, or even the people who go to my church believe as I do. I think one of the greatest freedoms we enjoy in this nation is the freedom OF religion: that means you can be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Secularist, Wiccan, Atheist, or any of a bazillion other religions and expect your choice to be respected.
I do not believe that organized prayer should be returned to schools. I believe children can pray whenever and however they choose as long as no one else (especially the school administration) dictates to whom or for what they should pray or not pray. I mentally cringe when I recall the daily New Testament reading in my school and the Christmas pageant, realizing today that there were a fair number of Jewish children in my classroom. I also ponder how difficult it must have been for the Catholic children to hear the closing words of the "Christian" Lord's prayer ("...For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory..."). Those lines were added later (most scholars believe from the Illuminations done by monks) and Catholics do not say them. So, no prayer in schools. Unless, of course, EVERYONE gets a turn and the Christian parents will allow their children to sit through readings from the Koran, prayers to Isis, etc.
I don't think the lack of prayer in schools is responsible for the "moral decline of America." I think people make choices, and some of them are bad ones. I don't think the tragedy at Columbine, Alabama, upstate New York, or any other such tragedy is because there is no prayer in schools. If that's so, then how do you explain the Sunday School teacher and granddaughter of a minister, sexually abusing and the murdering her daughter's playmate? Was she denied prayer? How do you explain Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, or Ted Haggard - ministers all - straying from their marital vows? As I said: people make bad choices.
I think the words "under God" should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. They weren't added until 1954, after all, so really don't have the imprimatur of centuries, regardless of what Sarah Palin thinks. In fact, the Pledge didn't even come into being until the late 1800s, and I'm not even sure we should have a pledge. For an interesting article, see here.
I don't think gay marriage, people living "in sin" (I'm guilty!), or the host of other "ills" that some claim are besetting this nation mark the end of Life As We Know It. I think a lack of empathy, the great divide between the haves and have-nots, the increasingly intrusive nature of the extreme right and their brand of narrowly-defined religious values into government, and a need among many to be "right" no matter the cost to their fellow humans, are far greater threats to unity and continuation of our way of life.
I don't think taxes are bad, but necessary. And I found it intriguing that while Gov. Perry of Texas was stirring up his constituents to secession from the Union, many of them were waving American flags.
I don't think firearms should be outlawed in this country, but I can't think of one good reason for a private citizen to own an AK-47 or any other kind of assault rifle.
I'm sure I've offended some of my readers (and perhaps some of my family members), and for that I am sorry. I'm not normally an offensive person. But *I* have been offended, and those who committed the offenses had no regard for my feelings.
Sometimes, even the most tolerant of people can be pushed once too often.