Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
An excerpt from an interview with a President in the future...
Amid conservative anger over the President's proposals to curb religious violence, the President says he sometimes attends Church.
Asked if he ever attends Church, the President said he did so occasionally when visitors to his retreat were interested in that sort of thing.
"Up at Camp David, we do service all the time," he said. "And I have a profound respect for the traditions of religion that trace back in this country for generations."
"And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake".
The President's plans for tighter religion control were drawn up after last month's massacre at a Church in which a Muslim man killed 19 parishioners.
The President said, "I have profound respect for the first amendment and our tradition of freedom of religion, but we must realize that we have a religious violence problem in this country and in the world. More people have died in the name of religion than for any other reason. How much longer can we tolerate such violence?"
The President's proposals include background checks on all religious attendees as well as a ban on certain 'features' of religious belief.
Critics counter that the Constitution prohibits interfering with the free exercise of religion and deciding what beliefs a religion can teach. They suggest that the vast majority of religious people in this country are good law-abiding citizens and abhor violence. They argue that religion can and does promote peace and respect for the rule of law. They question why they are being targeted.
Proponents argue that the Constitution allows reasonable limits to the beliefs and practices of religious people if aimed at reducing religious violence.
"There is no way that the framers of the Constitution could have foreseen the types of religious belief today or how radicalized and scary they have become," said Dawn Frelander of the Religious Violence Policy Center.
The President accepted that religious culture in rural areas was "very different" to that in urban areas.
"If you grew up and your parents brought you to Church every Sunday when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with them and your community, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that," the President told this interviewer.
He made clear that he would not expose his own children to religion until they were old enough to make an informed decision themselves.
The President believes that the American people are ready for some common sense religious violence laws. Polls suggest he may be right. A recent Gallup survey showed that 68% of Americans believe that more should be done to curb religious violence.
The President finished his interview saying that with regard to religious violence control, "Now is the time."
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I wrote this piece to illustrate how easily the same arguments being used today to curtail one Constitutionally guaranteed right can be used against others. Caveat emptor.