Thursday, November 30, 2023

Why religion and the legal system don’t mix


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By Taylor Davis
Assistant News Editor

I’m sad to say I belong to a world that has not learned from its past atrocities. We create wars by our own prejudices and choose to ignore the personal freedoms that are supposed to be inalienable rights to every person.

Recent Tennessee legislation brings to light those familiar unconstitutional and hateful views that have plagued our nation in the past.

The legislative change I’m referring to is the Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act.

The Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act requires schools to treat a student’s “expression of a religious viewpoint” the same as a secular student’s viewpoint. Although the bill was introduced to help create equality for those with religious preferences, the bill shuns gay children in schools and opens the floor for bullying.

The bill states, “a student may express beliefs about religion in homework, artwork and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination based on the religious content of their submissions.”

Speeches, assemblies, school assignments, morning announcements and many other activities are now open to religious views.

The bill may allow a child to express his or her religious views, but it also subjects others to their beliefs.

If a child decides to do an assignment based on their religion and their religion says that gays should burn in hell or it condones rape, then the person can write an essay or use it in a project.

For hundreds of years, the entire world including the United States has continuously faced prejudices — African Americans during the Civil Rights movement, Japanese during WWII and women since nearly the beginning of time. Even in the 21st Century, where the public claims to have become more tolerant in their views, we still see women’s bodies as property of the government and gay couples as less than equal.

We are still making the same mistakes and history is destined to repeat itself if we don’t learn from it.

Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union work to combat and stand up for those who have been denied their rights, but the first move to extinguish this behavior comes from each individual citizen.

The government is supposed to work for the people, but how is this legislative act working for the gay community?

Tolerance and compassion are the keys to a peaceful society, but those who are adamant about how something is not right or immoral don’t seem to notice that the reason why there’s no coexistence is because of the hatred they spew. Religious intolerance warps minds.

Although it is not all religious groups or people who feel this way, the beliefs of those who are adamant to see someone unhappy just because they can’t handle the differences between them are overshadowing everything else.

The idea that laws like this are passing legislation shows that certain people (or groups of people) would rather see someone be bullied than just accept each other.

Let me ask you this, what if someone came to you and said that we didn’t want you to get married because you were Christian, Islamic, Catholic or any other religion? What if someone told you that you didn’t have the right to be happy and to love someone.

Would you change your mind then?

Remember, we are not born to hate. We are taught.

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  1. It is amazing to me that after so many years and history, we are still discussing religion as a part of the legal system. I agree with the author by saying that they are two different entities that should never be in relation to one another, especially in the great country of the United States of America. The diversity of religious preferences in our country is too high for legislation to consider creating an act such as The Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act. The act obviously contains many grey areas, and may just cause even more conflict within our 1st Amendment rights of freely expressing religion and speech.
    What makes the author’s opinion more agreeable is when she states, “We create wars by our own prejudices and choose to ignore the personal freedoms that are supposed to be inalienable rights to every person.” For this reason, I do not believe that The Religious Viewpoints Anti-Discrimination Act is anti-discriminatory at all. Rather we believe it or not, some religions “discriminate” against various groups of people who exercise their rights to a freedom of religion just as that religion does. If we were speaking on Christianity, we would say that it disfavors gays, atheists, and Jews. Who’s to say that they can’t express themselves just as Christians do, without being criticized for their preferences? This act leaves room for religion to be debatable within the classroom and although it applies to the 1st Amendment, I don’t think it is a appropriate.

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