[this was submitted to my local newspaper during the presidential campaign; it remains unpublished]
I’m fairly amused by the recent mushrooming of ‘Religious Freedom” signs on lawns here in the Toledo area. I note that they frequently share the grass with Romney/Ryan signs. Politics and religion on full display is curious at best.
Yet it amazes me that the cry for ‘religious freedom’ is not at all about the repression of minority religious expression, as the sign would indicate, but rather it is sinuously tied to contraception and Christian faith.
Imagine centuries ago religious freedom signs appearing on the houses of so-called witches in Massachussetts or Quakers in Virginia in the 1600’s. Roger Williams, founder of the state of Rhode Island, could have used one of those signs on his door as he was expelled from Massachusetts for daring to demand religious freedom. Catholics ought to recall from their history books that the Church of England was legally established in their colony of Maryland with English penal laws which deprived Catholics of the right to vote, hold office, or worship publicly. Fortunately, Maryland’s first state constitution in 1776 restored their freedom of religion
Thus, when I see these signs in the year 2012 warning about religious freedom, I laugh at the folly. Rather, the signs ought to be in the yards of atheists, agnostics, Pagans, Buddhists, Baha’is, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Unitarians, and Native Americans. This group, rather than Christians, clearly understand the need for religious freedom and tolerance here in these Unites States.