Freedom from Judgment

Brandon - Clyde, Michigan
Entered on December 7, 2008

I believe that religion in the United States is best represented as unique

characteristic that we all share rather than a label on which judgment is

passed. Judgment of an individual based solely on their religion is the result

of ignorance giving rise to intolerance. The racial profiling of the past has

evolved into today’s religious profiling. Social stereotypes have extended into

religion. Basic morals teach people to respect one another, but at the same

time everyone is generally afraid of the unknown. This two beliefs clash when

the topic is religion. People know it is morally right to be accepting of

different religions, but at their core they are afraid of religions that are

foreign to them because they just don’t understand them. The largely intangible

nature of religions enhances this problem.

In a place as diverse as the United States, religious conflicts rise

because everyone has their own way to define religion. With millions of unique

variations on the religion, it is natural that conflict would rise about the

topic. The fact that there is little levity or wiggle room in relation to

religion just amplifies the conflict. Exclusivists see the issue of religion as

inmaleable, with their own opinion being the single truth. It often seems that

such people are the most passionate about religion, and the ones that are the

greatest instigators of religious conflicts.

As a result, I believe the key to religion in the United States is to

remove the seemingly polarizing nature from it. It is a given that everyone has

some sort of belief in religion, even if it is the lack thereof. If all those

opinions can be unequivocally respected rather than judged, I believe that

nearly all the animosity that surrounds religion would disappear.

If religion in the United States was treated with such unspoken respect,

religious freedom in this country would be undeniable. Winnifred Sullivan was

only half right when she proclaimed the impossibility of religious freedom.

While as a strict religious construct religious freedom is an impossibility,

when regarded as a societal value, an unalienable right, religious freedom is

very much a possibility in America.