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Attacking Our Freedoms: Part Two, Freedom of Worship

On January 6, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt delivered what became known as “The Four Freedoms” speech. It was later illustrated by artist Norman Rockwell in a series of paintings for “The Saturday Evening Post.” In this series, I will be examining the threats to these freedoms as they are attacked by the current administration and Trump’s defiant base.

Even before he took office, Donald Trump announced a war on religion. As a candidate, he declared that he would have “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” This is a far cry from the religious freedom established by the Founding Fathers and a direct contradiction of the freedom from religious persecution that drew so many to this country.

Sadly, many Evangelicals, who comprise a major part of his base, wholly embrace this philosophy. They condemn Sharia Law, yet want to establish a nation based on “Christian values,” which is exactly what the framers of the Constitution sought to avoid. Their narrow-mindedness refuses to see the parallels between their approach and the most extreme form of Islam.

They wholeheartedly support Israel, but chant “Jews will not replace us!” Again, they do not see this as a contradiction since Israel was the Biblical land of Jesus. Therefore, they are not so much supporting Israel as they are carrying on a tradition as old as the Crusades by “protecting the Holy Land from Muslim infidels.” Because of this, they refuse to accept a two-state solution as a viable peace plan for the region.

It would make sense that freedom of worship should extend to houses of worship, yet anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise since this administration took office. There have been shootings at synagogues and anti-Semitic slogans painted on houses of worship and Jewish cemeteries.

Despite the massacre in New Zealand, this administration refuses to tamp down its anti-Muslim rhetoric. As election season rolls on, the hatred will undoubtedly increase. This is no way to support freedom of worship.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a white man has been charged with burning down black churches. He has been charged with hate crimes, which demand harsher penalties, despite the suspect being the son of a sheriff.

What is the result of all this violence? Non-white and non-Christian churches, mosques and synagogues are forced to have armed personnel to prevent future attacks. How is this even what was promised in the Constitution?

More importantly, what are we going to do about it? Take a stand for freedom of religion!

CJ Waldron is an adjunct professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College and a contributing Writer for the Horry County Democratic Party where he covers a variety of Democratic issues, news, and commentary. Opinions and viewpoints expressed in his articles are solely his own.
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