Whose Freedom of Religion?

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from establishing a religion or preventing the free exercise of religion, which most of us take to mean that we’re free to practice whatever religion we believe in, or none at all. Turns out religious conservatives, the ones howling the loudest about their religious freedom being under attack in a secular culture, are touting only Christian religious freedom.

In Frisco, Texas, a handful of Muslim high school students met every day in an empty classroom to recite one of their five daily prayers. Others used the room too: teachers graded papers, Buddhist students meditated. People came and went. According to the principal, Muslim students had been using the room for prayer for seven years, with no objection from anyone.

The Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General, got wind of the matter and sent a letter of concern to the principal, opening up a huge and in the principal’s view, entirely unwarranted and deeply divisive brouhaha.

The only way religious conservatives can get around the First Amendment is by making Islam something other than a religion, which, according to Peter Beinart of the Atlantic, is exactly what the most Islamophobic among them are trying to do:


People like Frank Gaffney and Pamela Gellar used to be fringe figures; now they have Trump’s ear and that of his core supporters.

I read both of these articles and shake my head. Is this really a road we want to go down?

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