Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Giving Away Our Rights
When I was just a low seniority Annealing Operator at the aluminum foil factory, everything there was done based on seniority--job bidding, vacation bidding, overtime assignment--everything. Since I didn't have any(seniority), I had relatively few options.
There were those that wanted to change how overtime was assigned. They were guys that had no seniority and wanted to work the overtime that the more senior workers kept taking away from them. (Overtime was assigned to the junior qualified person but somebody with more seniority could take it.) Even though I was a new guy and had no seniority, I was unwilling to trade away my future seniority rights for something that I wanted now.
I think of those times when I continue to read and hear the ongoing discussion of an Islamic community center/Mosque being built near Ground Zero. I wonder how the future would play out if the opposition to this building won and the Muslims were not allowed to build their facility there.
What would happen when a Baptist Church wanted to rent a store front and start a church two blocks from a casino? Could the casino owners cite the "Ground Zero Case" and block them from putting a church too close because it would offend their patrons? Or maybe in a city's downtown area where there are a number of bars, pubs and micro-breweries? Could the businesses block the building or limit the hours so as not to interfere or offend their clientèle?
Imagine the uproar then! Fox News would have camera crews on hand. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh would fill the airwaves with their self righteous drivel. Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ would descend on that community with lawyers and truckloads of money. Politicians would line up on the side that would fill their campaign coffers with the most money. And the religious right would scream that this is the United States and their Constitutional Rights are being violated!
That's right, the same Constitutional Rights that are being challenged right now for a different organization. You can say that the "Ground Zero Case" is different; that the very land is sacred--but it's not.
I have a very hard time believing that good, well meaning, God fearing Americans are taking a stand to oppose religious freedom. I wonder what the Christian believers that meet in secret in the Middle East would say. I wonder what the believers that risk imprisonment in China would say. Would they be for or against a government deciding where followers of any faith can meet?
By fighting to limit another's religious freedom, we fight to limit our own freedom. When we take away their rights, we also lose our rights. Here, in the United States, we aren't compelled to believe what somebody else believes--but neither are they compelled to believe what we believe. I just don't see why this is so hard to grasp.
If all Muslims are guilty of the 9-11 attack, then try them and put them in prison. But they're not. So why are we putting them on trial and punishing them by limiting their religious freedom? Personally, I cherish my religious freedom...and I'm willing to let somebody else keep theirs so that I can keep mine.