May 2016

The christians are having a really hard time being Americans; no other religion that I can think of has had such trouble being both religious and being American, but they do, for some reason. They say they feel persecuted; I don't know why, and I'm sorry they feel that way. I'd like to help them out -- to relieve their pain, and make them feel more accepted. I have some ideas that might help.

 [Now, there are some people who think that the christians don't want to be accepted. These people say that the christians want to make all of us follow christian beliefs, rather than us being able to practice what we preach. They say christians want to force their beliefs on us, maybe even pass laws that would make us follow their rules. I think those people must have the wrong idea. I mean, what they're suggesting would be - I don't know - sort of unchristian.

 But let's not go with the conspiracy theories. Let's just assume that they just want to feel welcome and accepted. If that's what they're seeking, maybe there are some things we can do to accommodate them. Here are a few ideas I came up with.]

 Prayer in school - This seems to be a recurring issue with them; I don't know why. I've read their bible and it seems to say that they can and should pray everywhere, but that the prayers are between them and god, so they don't need to tell everybody else that they're praying. (In the bible, God even implied that public prayer was sort of showing off.) Still, if they feel that they need a special session during school time, I think that could be arranged. How about we start school a quarter of an  hour early and finish a quarter of an hour late, and add a half-hour to homeroom? As soon as the announcements are read, school could break for a half-hour, and the christians who felt they needed to pray then could do so. If other religions felt they needed that time, they could do whatever they needed to do. Others who didn't feel the need to pray could read a book, text their friends, do crossword puzzles, catch up on their homework, etc. Everybody's taken care of. That should satisfy them, right?

 Doing business with sinful people - Say that a gay or lesbian couple comes into a bakery run by christians, and want to order a cake for their upcoming wedding. That's a toughie, right? According to the beliefs of those christians, these people (who are already sinning) want the company  to be a party to their even bigger sin (Destroying Marriage). Yet, both State and Federal laws say that businesses can't discriminate, and in America denying cakes for cash is considered discrimination. A quandary, right? Well, here's a thought.

  How about modifying the laws so that the business could discriminate, based on religious beliefs? That's Freedom of Religion, right? But I don't think you could get an exemption just on opposition to one thing, like same-sex marriage; that would be similar to racial profiling. I think the business  would have to get an exemption for all their religious beliefs that are different than what non-christian Americans believe. Here's how I see it:

   1. The business would apply for a religious exemption in their business permit. On the application, they would list all the things that they were religiously against. The list would probably be different for different businesses with different christian beliefs. For example, every exemption list for companies that make cakes would probably include not making cakes for same-sex marriages. Maybe every business would be against fornication. But some christians think dancing is sinful, some are against birth control, some oppose divorce, and some even think that speaking in tongues (done by other christians) is a sign of the Devil at work. The list would have to be complete and specific for the specific business.

  2. Once the list is accepted (accepted, not approved, because a government agency obviously can't tell a religion what is or isn't a legitimate belief), a sign would be posted at all the company's offices, on their websites, and on all documents. It could read something like, "This company does not serve anyone who..... "

   3. Because some potential customers might not be entirely honest about sleeping with their neighbor's spouse, or singing in the shower (some christians don't approve of music), there would have to be a form for them to sign. It could be simple: "I don't do any of the things that this company is against on religious grounds. Signed... " This would be legal protection for the business should someone later try to say that the company let an adulterer buy something, but wouldn't let a gay couple buy a cake.

  Companies with religious exemptions would still pay their taxes ("rendering unto Caesar" is okay, according to the christian bible), so they would still be eligible for basic Government services like police and fire protection. However, by separating themselves from other Americans, they would obviously give up their access to any special American government perks - Government grants, business exemptions on their tax returns, and such. Still, it seems like a good way to address everybody's needs.  

 School bathroom safety - I know it's sad to think of transgender people confusing the school bathroom situation, because school bathrooms have always been sort of a safe haven/sanctuary. Where else could kids go for a quick smoke; to bully smaller, weaker kids of the same sex; maybe have a little same-sex  contact of a personal kind; or  be undisturbed while (either individually or as a team) inscribing vile sexual or racial comments on the walls of the stalls?  With these new rules, who knows what might happen in there?

  Here's a suggestion. I know it would deprive Today's Youth of some long-time traditions, but why don't we get rid of the big, open, single-sex bathrooms, and have a series of individual, unisex stalls - you know, like on an airplane, or at the ball park? It would take up a lot less room, would be easier to service, and there would be no waiting. Good idea, right?

  Stopping the War on Christmas - Personally, I have no hope that this can change. After all, the Puritans in Seventeenth Century New England tried to ban the celebration of Christmas because it was considered a pagan holiday. People caught celebrating could be fined, publicly punished, or even jailed. Some religious folks even expressed doubt that Christmas was really Jesus' birthday. (They wondered why shepherds would be out watching their flocks in the deep snows of December.) Yet, here we are in the Twenty-first Century still having fun at Christmas - sharing gifts, entertaining family, overeating, overdrinking, putting up pagan-based Christmas trees, kissing under pagan-based mistletoe, etc., etc. It just seems to me that battle is lost.

 So, anyway, I hope this helps (except for the Christmas thing).




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