This I Believe

Corinne - Torrance, California
Entered on January 6, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in freedom. As I look around during my daily life, I realize how much I use the freedoms of speech and religion everyday. However, I take them for granted.

The teacher was lecturing that day in my history class. She asked a question and no one raised their hand. I think they were scared. I bravely put my hand up as if I were proud. The teacher called on me and I blurted out my answer. Even though I answered the question wrong, I was able to express my thoughts freely without being penalized. I use the freedom of speech everyday during my academic classes. My teachers can not penalize me for a wrong answer.

I also use my religious freedoms every day without realizing it. When I do my prayers at night or I go to the church on the Sunday, I am never penalized. In the Peace of Augsburg, established by Emperor Charles V in the Holy Roman Empire in 1555, there was no religious toleration. In each splintered state of the Holy Roman Empire, the ruler chose the faith of the state. For people who did not like or follow this religion they could: 1. Move out of the area, 2. Convert, or 3. Practice their faith secretly and hope they did not get caught. I am lucky enough, here in America, to have religious freedom. I do not have to convert, move, or practice secretly in order to express my own faith.

Even though I am fortunate enough to have these freedoms, I take them for granted. I never realize how much trouble the founding fathers of America went through in order to obtain these freedoms. Every day in class, when I raise my hand, I never think about the freedom of speech. When I say my prayers at night, I do not think about my religious freedoms. In some countries, people are not allowed to have a say, especially women. If it is not a their ruler’s religion, the people are not allowed to practice their faith freely. If I was not fortunate enough to live in a country who had these freedoms, it would be very hard for me to live my daily life.

The founding fathers of America fortunately gave me the freedom of speech and religion. I am very lucky to live in a country that lets me have a say in any discussion and lets me freely worship my faith. Let freedom ring!