Part Three – The Current (or Why Are We On This Earth?)
This part of the story is going to be more difficult for me to reveal and express. Knowing that my family and friends love me for what and who I am, unconditionally, will make it easier; although, I hope it does not cause the concern for me that I believe it may for some.
As I previously stated, my parents’ beliefs were never thrust upon me. I was encouraged to think for myself in all things. I was raised with their beliefs, which fortunately were and are primarily based on LOVE. I raised my children with the same beliefs. I also encourage them to think for themselves. Some of our best discussions and moments of greatest realization and love have come from our disagreements on issues that we each believe important.
We’ve all asked or been asked the question: “Why are we on this Earth?” I have believed since I was old enough to consider the ramifications of the question that the reason we are on this earth is to LEARN. Sir Francis Bacon said, “Knowledge is Power.” Never was there a more profound statement that has been overlooked throughout history than this one.
I believe we are to seek out knowledge. Not knowledge on our one particular belief system, but those of all peoples on the planet. ALL.
The Founders of our Country stated in The Declaration of Independence that “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The key word here, I believe, that is often ignored, is “pursuit.” The Declaration of Independence does not grant the unalienable right of Happiness, but simply our opportunity to pursue our happiness. In my experience and my ever-growing knowledge of history, people have to WORK at happiness. So, just because you are an American, does not entitle you to whatever you feel will make you happy. It does entitle you to pursue your happiness. So get up and get out there!
The First Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” What many people do not understand is that there is no place in the Declaration, Constitution or Bill of Rights that specifically says there should be a “Separation of Church and State.” Where this issue arose was actually in a request in December 1802 from the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut to Thomas Jefferson requesting a more definitive explanation of the limitations of Government in religious activities. In Mr. Jefferson’s written response to the Association on January 1, 1802, he stated: “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
Jefferson simply quotes the First Amendment then uses a metaphor, the “wall,” to separate the government from interfering with religious practice. Note that the First Amendment puts this restriction ONLY on the Government, not on The People. This Amendment has in the most recent 50 years or so been reinterpreted to put the restrictions on The People – not the Government as originally intended by Mr. Jefferson and our Founding Fathers.
To put this in a more current perspective, in the present time, Governments can issue laws that prohibit praying in school, prohibit reading the Bible in school, prohibit showing religious displays in school, prohibit the teaching of Creationism and Evolution, etc. This is not what was intended as clearly noted by Mr. Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. The PEOPLE are free to worship, believe, disbelieve, support, not support, speak on whatever topic they wish to speak – we are a FREE country. What is NOT to occur, however, is the Government making decisions for the entire Country based on the belief of the most prevalent religious organization in the Country.
I know that many believe that we should keep the words “under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. I do not. This is contrary to how our Country was founded and what the Founders stated. We should NOT be allowing prayer at our Government proceedings, we should not be agreeing to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” We need to stop the divisiveness of our own citizenry. We must respect the beliefs of ALL the people. I have friends who are Atheists, Catholics, Mormons, Christians, Muslims, Baptists, Lutherans, Agnostics, etc. I trust them to decide for themselves what they want to believe and they need to trust me to decide for myself what I want to believe. I respect them for allowing us to share our beliefs without censure.
Also, if a school is receiving Federal Funding, it is associated with the Government and a “specific” religion or belief system should not be pushed; rather, the freedom to believe in whatever entity, belief or lack thereof should be the agenda.
The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Get ready folks, I’m onto my next rant.
The Defense of Marriage Act, enacted on 9/21/96 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, I believe is un-Constitutional. Per the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, since the subject of marriage, let alone the definition of what marriage is or should be, does not appear anywhere in the Constitution, the Federal Government has no authority under the Constitution to enact such a bill. The Amendment clearly states that the power is then reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. By saying that specific individuals of differing genders cannot marry is supporting, in my opinion, the Christian (and majority) belief, thus knocking down Jefferson’s Wall of Separation of Church and State, and continuing the divisiveness of the citizenry and the repetition of History.
What I myself believe on this particular subject is moot, as it should be for all. I have seen too many marriages fall apart due to hate and too few staying together because of love to feel that I have the right to say who should and should not be allowed to get married. As long as it is two living humans, I think we’re okay.
I actually think it would make more sense to have a Pre-Pregnancy Test done on prospective parents. I know so many couples who should never have had children. But that, as represented in my statements above, is not within my purview. Obviously, this is just my personal opinion, to which I am entitled to under the laws of the United States. The same laws that protect those who I may deem “unfit” for parenthood the right to conceive a child.
The last of my rants has no supportive documentation, but is truly just my opinion. I believe that ALL Government officials should receive a salary commiserate with that of the mean salary of the majority of the American Workers. The only way they should be allowed pay increases is if they increase the minimal hourly wage of the American worker. There are age limits for candidates to run for office. There needs to be age limits for when they must step down. Basically, if you wouldn’t feel safe in a car with them behind the wheel, why would you want them behind the wheel of our Country?
Actually, the Declaration of Independence does give us, The People, the right to change the Government. Specifically, it states: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
Thus ends Part Three.
Summation (or What Was The Point Of All Of This?)
Basically, I guess I’m just getting older. I believe that humans go through very distinct stages in life:
Baby – know nothing, but trust everybody;
Adolescent – know a little bit, but only trust Dad and Mom;
Teenager – know a bit more, but don’t trust anybody;
College student – Know Everything, selective trusting (but usually follow Mom and Dad’s lead);
Young Adult – beginning to realize you don’t know much, and are starting to be a bit lacking in trust, having been a bit too gullible a few too many times;
Mid-Life – Think you know absolutely nothing and you shouldn’t trust anyone;
Senior Years (politically correct, right?) – realize that if you don’t know it, you should take the opportunity to sit down, read, think and learn! Trust only what you believe, but only after you have educated yourself. Let those you love, and even those you don’t love, choose for themselves what they do or do not believe. And respect their belief as THEIR belief, if not yours.
Stop listening to one particular “news channel.” You are only hearing one version of the facts. Listen to as many as you can, even if they are those with which you may initially disagree. Read. First read The Declaration of Independence, then read The Constitution of the United States, than read The Bill of Rights. Don’t just read them. Remember them. If you need to (if your memory is like mine), keep a copy handy in your home. I know that in my home I have approximately 15 Bibles, 1 Book of Mormon, 1 Pearl of Great Price, 1 Koran, and a copy of each of the aforementioned documents.
KNOWLEDGE must be the beginning to start a World of Tolerance. Learn what others truly believe. Don’t assume that you understand the beliefs of others from what Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, or the like, have told you. Learn for yourself! It takes a bit of time away from your television viewing, game playing, might even make you work a bit less (which would actually be good for us all), but it is well worth it. Learn for yourself and you will learn about yourself.
Let’s try to stop the repetition of history and write it anew. Let’s create a world of love, tolerance and respect for all mankind. Let’s stop fighting wars to make other Governments believe or behave as we want them to do. Let’s change the way other Countries feel about America. Let’s change the way Americans feel about other Americans.
Okay, I think I’m done now.