What Happened to America?

The thing we hold dear to us most as Americans is the idea of liberty, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness for all. The freedom to do what we please; to be free from religious persecution and not be judged by what we are or what we believe, but by what we do. We are a country that was created on the idea of tolerance and equality.

Let’s not forget that our country was founded by immigrants from all walks of life. People came to this land in droves to escape persecution of all kinds. There were different nationalities, ethnicity's, and religions. It wasn't just Catholics and Protestants seeking freedom, but Jews and Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindu among many others. We wanted to be free from tyranny and oppression. We wanted FREEDOM. Freedom to live our lives and raise our families, all without the fear of being persecuted for something we believe.

Is there any religion the can remain guiltless and say that no one was ever killed or persecuted during its history all in the name of their god(s)? No. The following quote was incorrectly attributed to Pope Francis on a meme circulating around Facebook recently. Regardless of the misattribution, the idea behind it is powerful and I believe to be true:

“It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way, the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual, but not religious. It is not necessary to go to church and give money- for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history did not believe in God, while some of the worst deeds were in done in his name.”

As a society we have a tendency to cast a huge blanket of blame over certain societal groups or cultures because of the acts of one or a few and give them labels. Cops are evil, black people are thugs, Republicans are racists, Muslim’s are terrorists, immigrants are illegal, and so many more disgusting generalizations where nothing could be further from the truth. Is there truth in any of it? Sure, but as with everything else, it is the few bad apples that lead others to make ignorant generalizations.

America, we are one people made up of many. Stop labeling each other. We remain divided because we refuse to think for ourselves and in order to conform to one identity that we might relate to, we hold the line fervently. Not swaying or considering the ideas or beliefs of someone else. We all wish to belong to something at the cost of someone else’s infringements. It has got to stop.

The hatred that is being spewed in our country is just sickening. Some folks should just be ashamed of themselves, including some of my veteran brothers and sisters. America was founded on the belief that ALL are created equal and that we should ALL be free from religious persecution. You can NOT blame a whole religion or group for the actions of one sect. If that was the case, we'd all be guilty. LIBERTY, FREEDOM, and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS is not reserved for the chosen few, but for everyone-regardless of belief or any other label. 

Unjust persecution goes both ways and looks just as ugly coming from the other side.

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