Hannah Gastonguay: “US Has No Religious Freedoms” Really?

It was an Associated Press headline that peaked my interest, “Religious family rescued at sea after a “leap of faith’.”

It was the opening paragraph that made me shake my head.

Religious Family Lost At Sea

Las Ultimas Noticias, AP

OK, there was nothing in the article to tell us if the Gastonguay family had any seafaring experience as they left San Diego to the nation of Kiribati. Yeah, I never heard of it either but I did find it on Google Earth. It is in the middle of nowhere Pacific Ocean.

In what the world considers the freest country on the planet in terms of practicing one’s personal beliefs, these people believed that the government somehow was telling the churches how they were to believe and they were “forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.”

Last I heard, federal moneys do not pay for abortions – anywhere. And regulate the church? The First Amendment strictly forbids that as it forbid the church to get involved in government. Oh yeah… that’s one we seem to ignore. Oh well…

So this is a family on the fringe, but they are not alone and I am sure we will hear more about their trials and tribulations and how God saved them while lost at sea for 91 days. Husband, wife, the father-in-law and two-children, 3-years and 8-months old respectfully. Now there should be a law…

The problem is not that the United States, the country they sought to abandon, is paying their way back to San Diego or Arizona, but they will be the face of all that id holy on the morning talk shows for the next month. I can see a reality show and moneys pouring in from others of the fringe movements who believe that the United States controls the church.

american-flag-crossIt is, in fact the other way around. There are more laws that are in violation of the first Amendment’s separation demands than one can count using the fingers and toes of all elected to Congress. From the sanctioning of military chaplains to funding faith-based non-profits, the United States government had supported religious, more specifically the Christian denominations, in law and sanction since 1775.

In this case, stupidity cannot and should not be rewarded with publicity and reward of any value. Congress should demand that all expenses paid for to rescue and return the Gastonguays to the U.S. need to be reimbursed and if they wish to leave the country, become citizens of another land, then so be it.

We need tell the networks not to give this family anymore print or pixels or air time than to tell the world how silly and stupid they were in the first place and how wrong they are about our nation.

The United States was founded on two principles as noted in the First Amendment. First we are a nation that does not have and will not have a national religion. Second, we are a nation that allows its citizens the freedom to believe as they wish – even if it is a belief based on nothing more than superstition and conspiracy. 

About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
This entry was posted in Christian Right, Christianity, Church and State, Church/State Separation, Conspiracy Theories, Ethics, Mythologies, National, Politics, Religious and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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