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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Free Expression with No Reservation

First Amendment Applies to Religion, Too

This season, we’ve heard a lot of conversations regarding the expression of religious beliefs. One big reason for the revival of this old discussion is Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos quarterback. He kneels down right in the middle of the field and makes hand and head gestures that unequivocally show that he is a believer.
Many criticize him, arguing that this could make some people uncomfortable. Some believe that this is an imposition of his faith upon those who don’t share the same beliefs, or any religious beliefs for that matter. Is that so? Hardly.

When someone openly displays his or her faith, it is not a signal that others have to follow suit. The only expectation is that they will make a connection with the higher power they believe in. They are exercising their freedom of expression. That is it! His reasons for doing it so publicly? Your guess is as good as mine, but I truly think it is none of our business.

Is there any valid reason to take that freedom away from him or anyone? Perhaps non-believers have nothing to express in this regard – but surely that should not remove others' right to express their faith.

If we extrapolate this reasoning to a completely different realm, it would be very difficult to make any sense of it. Consider, for instance, if those who have no car, because they prefer walking, were able to force others not to use their car either; or if, because I choose not to buy in Wal-Mart, others were not allowed to get in these stores. You get the idea.

This time is different from the Inquisition time. Today, most believers have no problem knowing and accepting that others may be agnostics, or atheists. Why should agnostics or atheists have a problem accepting the fact that others have a faith? I am convinced that in the same way no one should judge, or impose action on others, no one should impose the absence of action either.

To each his or her own, and everyone should be able to act, as far as religious matters go, in the way they feel most comfortable, without having to please anyone else.

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