When I began the #FreedomFriday initiative about two months ago, the last thing I wanted was for this to become a political agenda. My main idea here is to bring people together to express their feeling about the word Freedom. This initiative began when I saw the situation occur with The China Ink Girl. Maybe it was the observance of a sweet girl speaking her truth that jolted me into action, but overall I felt as if I couldn't let her disappear without a trace and not say something.
This feeling was further cemented when I saw Alex Jones and many others were kicked off of YouTube, Twitter, and many other websites. Whether I agree with anyone's choice of expression, I do not feel we need to be silenced. Actually, I'm quite fed up with staying silent and being a slave to a system that only looks out for the very few. My stance on this, is that I feel the more of us who speak up and voice our feelings then we have a chance to change the frequency of how humankind is living.
When we change the frequency to encourage freedom in all the senses of the word, then we climb out of slavery and attain complete freedom. That said every week or thereabouts, myself and the group I'm a member of @freedomtribe led by @richardcrill, who have been kind to join my initiative will present an aspect of freedom for the Steemit community to think about and act upon.
You see, when we start something, sometimes there are many that will stand up, take notice, and fight alongside you. This week we will discuss the subject of Freedom of Religion that was briefly discussed in our group and suggested by @richardcrill.
Let us begin ...
When I was a child I grew up in a very strict religious household, my great-grandparents were the conservative Catholic type, and they went to church three times a week, said prayers throughout the day and night, and we even had a holy water bowl as you entered the house to bless yourself.
These practices were instilled within my family for generations on my mother’s side of the family. If my family had lived in a country where this was not free to explore, I would not be the person I am today.
My situation like many, is that we are born into a religion by birth and are encouraged to stick with it until we die. Little did they know Eagle Spirit had a lot on her mind even as a child.
Not that I didn't like religion, per say, but it was way to restrictive and the religion itself did not lend itself to answer a lot of my questions. If you know me, then you know my questions are never ending.
So what is religion anyway?
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, religion is:
Human beings’ relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, absolute, spiritual, divine, or worthy of especial reverence. It is also commonly regarded as consisting of the way people deal with ultimate concerns about their lives and their fate after death.
For some reason that definition didn't sit well with me so let's go to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, where it says:
1.a : the state of a religion
b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
3 archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
4 : a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith
The definition from Merriam sounded more of what I've seen and felt to be true. Regardless of how we may feel about religion, or different religions we all deserve the right to express our freedom of religion.
If we haven't taken the time to explore many religions this might be a time to do so. Even though we may be prescribed to a specific religion, this does not mean we need to be restricted to one belief system.
If we think about it — when we explore many religions or belief systems — we become stronger in knowledge, we have more information to share, and we see where we stand within our soul. However, if you are strong in not exploring then please do not let me block your freedom of religion.
What is religious freedom exactly?
The ACLU explains this pretty well from their website as:
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that everyone in the United States has the right to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all.
Our country's founders -- who were of different religious backgrounds themselves -- knew the best way to protect religious liberty was to keep the government out of religion. So they created the First Amendment -- to guarantee the separation of church and state. This fundamental freedom is a major reason why the U.S. has managed to avoid a lot of the religious conflicts that have torn so many other nations apart.
When I read the words "country's founders" I sort of flinched since the reality is my people of the North Native Americas were here way before the "founders" came through and ripped the country apart. In fact, the founders pretty much dismantled the Native American's religion out from under them, not allowing them their way of honoring their spirituality. I use the word religion here but the Northern Native Americans do not use the word religion, they use the word spirituality.
The North Native American along with African Americans were not allowed to dress in traditional clothes and told to burn them. Their ways of celebrating were replaced by the Bible and Christianity.
For the horrible way freedom of religion and/or spirituality was torn apart we have seen suffering take place for many years. Although indigenous spiritual practice was in private with ancient stories kept alive, the death of freedom scarred many cultures and people as a whole.
Some cultures cannot pull themselves up out of the damage that was done from taking this freedom away, but there are those that continue to instill knowledge with oral history and encourage forgiveness. There js hope that these leaders will make a positive difference.
Over the years I've come to bond with the spirituality of my people and celebrate many aspects of spirituality, and not adhere to one set of traditions.
When we think of the word religion the right to have freedom of religion is a tricky one, who are we to say what one should practice or not practice? Personally, I feel it's a human right to have freedom in all we do and not have anyone tell us what to do, think, or feel. Period.
The tricky part comes in when humanity discusses how a practice "harms others or undermines interests." My hair tends to rise up when I hear these words, maybe beacause flashes of all those movies about the Holocaust or reading historical accounts of those persecuted for their beliefs comes flashing through
my brain. We often see someone wanting power that destroys the good. This is our job, to change the way of life we have all become a part of.
A website Teaching Tolerance describes the law of religious freedom and the rights and civic responsibilities of religious citizens:
As a general rule, the government protects the rights of religious people and institutions to practice their faiths openly and freely without governmental interference unless the practice harms others or undermines other compelling societal interests.
Religious liberty rights are best guarded when each person and group takes responsibility to guard not only their own rights but the rights of others, including those with whom they deeply disagree. This respect for the rights of others is not indifference to theological or moral disagreement, but rather a civic virtue necessary to maintain peace in a religiously diverse society.
As we can see, it is up to each and every one of us to defend and protect those who do have a religion even if we disagree. Being mindful of differences and on the path each one chooses in not for us to judge. We all have a right to be on our own path and someone have our back. Humans are at many different stages individually in their growth, and that is okay. It's time for us to ring the bell of freedom for humanity's sake.
Today, let us celebrate our freedom and share our story! As always, I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts, so please leave one below.
Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I’m a Certified Indian Blood member of the Hopi & Apache Native American tribes, Reiki Master-Teacher, Medicine woman in-training, paralegal, researcher, and writer based in the mountains of Colorado, USA. I work closely with fellow planktons and minnows in a few groups by helping them adjust to Steemit and curate quality content. I’m especially interested in finding others who love natural medicine originating from ancient practices, gold and silver, and energy work. Additionally, I'm the creator of #MedicineCardMonday and #FreedomFriday, so if you are interested in receiving a Native American blessing stop by my blog every Monday to say hello!
See you soon, @eaglespirit