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.
This is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the first ten of which make up the Bill of Rights. The framers of this document considered this to be so important that they placed it first. Why? Many, if not most of them had risked their lives, left their families, given up their homes and made major sacrifices to cross an ocean for the chance to be able to worship as they saw fit without fear of persecution.
This concept has been grossly perverted today. The “separation of church and state” was intended to prevent any one religion from controlling the legislative process as a means to ensure that all men and women would be able to worship in their own way…or choose not to worship at all. Today we have courts that are prohibiting people from honoring their chosen religion under the guise of Constitutional protection. But one person’s right to NOT be religious does not trump another’s freedom.
If you see someone praying, you do not have to join in. Even if the vast majority of people at an event are holding a communal prayer you can politely opt out. When I was in grade school (yes, it was quite some time ago) we explored many religions; Judaism, Christianity, Hindu, etc. Not in any great detail, but if there was a student in the class who practiced something other than Christianity we talked about whatever holiday it was for that religion and we…LEARNED! It was enlightening. I never had a desire to convert, mind you, and I never felt uncomfortable. But I did learn to appreciate other view points. And I learned that we are not so different in our overall philosophy.
It amazes me that in today’s society, where the politically correct pundits preach tolerance of others there is a skewed sense of fairness and the “tolerance” is for a limited few. Should we not all be respectful of each other’s right to worship…or not worship…as we see fit?