Friday, July 22, 2011
Freedom of Religion is a cornerstone of the YouEssofAY.
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.
What worries me is the historical context of the 1st Amendment to the Constitution. Just as (deliberate) misreading of the 14th Amendment outside of its historical milieu has saddled us with the anchor baby situation of today, has an over-broad view of the 1st Amendment opened the door to some of our thornier current issues? Since the majority of what was "religious" to the Founders came from "Biblical Religion", could it not be argued that religions foreign to our shores, non-Biblical in their scope, and inimical to the Founders' intentions, should not be included in our understanding of it? Even in Jefferson's time, the Muslim Barbary pirates were a pain. (I find "Dummies.com" to be preferable to Wikipedia.)
So, the obvious question lurking here is: Should Islam even be considered under the 1st Amendment, since it was foreign to our shores at the time of the writing of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, and provably antagonistic to our Republic over two centuries ago?
I am serious in my question, and it is a question I believe should be asked. I am not printing up t-shirts and banners demanding the ouster of every Muslim, Scientologist, and Neo-Zoroastrian from our currently ill-championed borders, but as a strict constructionist kind of guy, I would like some discussion of this idea.