Religious Freedom Day

Did anyone else know that tomorrow is officially “Religious Freedom Day”? 

The first question that comes to mind is: Why does Martin Luther King, Jr. have to share his holiday with this one? 

That aside, religious freedom is a wonderful cause to promote.  What bothers me is that “religious freedom” is often code for institutionalizing Christianity in the U.S. in ways that violate the separation of church and state.  We have to be careful not to invoke “religious freedom” when we talk about posting the ten commandments at a state house, or making children in public schools pray at football games, or granting tax exemptions to churches that openly campaign on behalf of Republican candidates from the pulpit. 

I applaud the President’s efforts to recognize religious persecution against people of all faiths around the world.  But I’m just afraid that he and his base are only concerned about Christians abroad – and not the millions of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and others who face danger and abuse because of their beliefs.  Let’s hope that tomorrow will be a day to truly celebrate the diversity of religious traditions in our great country, and not just a holiday concocted by President Bush in order to pander to his right-wing base.

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