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I may be an Aussie but I am not totally ignorant of US history and law

Reader comment on item: Confirmed: Barack Obama Practiced Islam
in response to reader comment: Yes, it matters what God you believe in.

Submitted by Atheist Australian (Australia), Sep 22, 2008 at 18:20

I have received several comments from people who claim to be Christian, yet express views that would make Jesus spin in his grave.

I may be an atheist but I am sure that several times Jesus taught tolerance and compassion for others no matter if their religious views differ from others. This point of view is in a way embodied in the first amendment to the US constitution:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/

U.S. Constitution: First Amendment

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First Amendment - Religion and Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The following is a legal interpretation of the First Amendment:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment01/11.html#1

The First Amendment does not expressly speak in terms of liberty to hold such beliefs as one chooses, but in both the religion and the expression clauses, it is clear, liberty of belief is the foundation of the liberty to practice what religion one chooses and to express oneself as one chooses. 169 "If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein." 170 Speaking in the context of religious freedom, the Court at one point said that while the freedom to act on one's beliefs could be limited, the freedom to believe what one will "is absolute." 171 But matters are not so simple.

The spirit of the first amendment is that the freedom to believe what one will "is absolute". It makes no mention that a person should be persecuted or condemned for being a Muslim. A person may believe in whatever they want to, provided they respect the law of the land. Can anyone show any instance in which Mr Obama has broken US law? Or done time in jail or a penitentiary?

By going on a witch hunt and barring people from any public office based purely on their belief system, is a repeat of the same Historical errors that were done during the Spanish Inquisition, the religious persecutions by the Catholic Church against Protestants that led the Pilgrims to travel on the Mayflower to settle in the New World, the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the former Apartheid regime of the Republic of South africa, and the Serbians persecuting Bosnians to the point of genocide.

The United States of America stands as an example to the rest of the World in which people can lead free, productive, God fearing (if they choose), and law abiding lives. Is the USA to lose its global respect as a nation of Laws by persecuting innocent people just because they are Muslims and thus found guilty by association? That is how Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics got started in the first place.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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