The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘The First Amendment’

ON TERRORISM

“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions… Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

–  Portion of a statement issued by the U. S. Embassy in Cairo on 9/11/12 in response to the protests outside that embassy and the burning by “militant ultra-conservative Muslims” of the U. S. flag.

After I read the embassy’s response I began thinking about the only violent episode in which I have ever been personally involved.  Previously I wrote about my college incident when I was mugged by three men carrying switchblades, kicked unconscious and spent five days in the hospital with a concussion.

If I were to describe this mugging in the way in which our embassy in Egypt responded to the demonstrations outside its doors, I might have said the following:

“Yes, it was unfortunate and tragic what happened to me.  But if you think about it, really it was my own fault.”

“If I hadn’t accepted my professor’s invitation to join him and his family for dinner, I wouldn’t have been walking where I was mugged.  I would have been safe in my own apartment.”

“So, you see.  It’s terribly misguided to lay the blame on my assailants.  They were just doing what they do.  It was just a matter of bad luck that they did it to me.”

I don’t want to sound harsh because that is not my style.  I believe that anger, hatred and vitriol never settle arguments effectively.  But having said that, let’s look at the reality of what happened in Cairo.

The people who were involved in the rioting outside our embassy are  thugs – and You Tube movie or not have an agenda on which they will continue to move.  That agenda is to hate us – and any excuse, real or imagined – will serve their ends.

Is there anyone in our State Department who believes that those who murdered our ambassador and three others in Libya or participated in the riots outside the Cairo embassy are the kind of rational people who will be placated by our making statements like the one they issued?  People whose first response to any perceived “injustice” is to take to violence seldom are people who understand the concept of sitting down at a peace table and resolving differences through negotiation.

They interpret kindness and rational explanations as signs of weakness which merely further encourages them to continue their behavior.  Having delivered these “nice-nice” lectures many times, there finally comes a point at which the rational person realizes that conversation is insufficient to remedy a continuing problem and further, more assertive action, must be taken.

Why should the terrorists involved in these attacks believe the following sentence which was part of the embassy’s statement?” (Perhaps more germane to the point is, do you think that they care if it is true?)  But we, as Americans, should indeed hope that it is true.

“Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

These words directly mirror those expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.  But is that what we really believe and how we truly govern ourselves?  Are we really committed to the individual’s right to practice his or her religious faith without government interference – or to allow our citizens to choose a non-religious path without fear of reprisal?

(Of course, this entire concept of freedom to choose or reject a particular religious path is abhorrent to the terrorists’ most fundamental view that there is only one true faith – theirs).

Let’s consider the crown jewel of the Obama administration’s four years in office, Obamacare.  One of the provisions, commonly known as the HHS Mandate requires that all employers must cover their workers by purchasing insurance which coverage shall include benefits for birth control, abortions and for abortifacients – or face severe government penalties.

This provision is a direct assault against those who are practicing adherents of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and many fundamental Christian denominations who view procreation as the primary reason for sexual engagement.  So by enforcing this provision on those who find it morally and religiously objectionable, we have essentially enacted a law that says it is alright for government to deny them their constitutional right to practice their First Amendment rights.

You might be a reader who is “Pro-Choice” and who believes that there is nothing wrong with practicing birth control or feels that abortion is acceptable.  The purpose of this post is neither to dispute or argue with your beliefs.  You are certainly entitled to your opinion – in fact your are guaranteed the right to hold that opinion by our Constitution.  I applaud the fact that we are blessed to live in a country where that is true.

But if we stand by silently and watch the rights of those with whom we might disagree be eroded by our own government, we should be conscious that we are opening the flood gates which might one day sweep our own beliefs away as well.

The murders in Libya and the demonstrations throughout the Muslim world are indeed acts of terrorism.  But they pale in comparison to the erosion of the Constitution that, if not the agenda of the Obama administration during the four years it has reigned, has been the ultimate result of their policies.

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