Last week, when I wrote this column during winter break, we had the presidents’ birthdays and Ash Wednesday to acknowledge.
So it was only fitting for us as a family to sit around the fireplace and discuss those two ubiquitous elephants in the room, politics and religion.
We know we don’t have the right to decide what’s right and wrong, but we do know we have the right to discuss our own personal beliefs. I expect my children to think independently on subjects of such gravitas. I don’t tell them how to vote, and I don’t tell them lies, but I do encourage the pursuit of an informed decision. And unlike what happened to me as a child, I never force feed them religion, although we do engage with the mysteries of the ages.
The state of land and the state of mind, are two separate categories. My children understand that they were born in America, leaving them no choice but to live as Americans. They also know that I was raised a Catholic, creating a culture that celebrates Christmas and Easter. However, being of their own minds, they’ve decided to avoid the uncertainty of Christ’s birth and resurrection, and enjoy the Santa Claus thing and the springtime egg hunt instead.
Though they enjoy the right to pursue such recreation, they understand they cannot force these practices on other Americans. We call it apples and oranges.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and state.”
So, why is religion an issue in this election?
“No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States,” states Article VI in the Constitution.