Religious Freedom and Christianity
For many Americans their religious culture and beliefs play a very important role in how they live their lives. Those who have been brought up in a religious culture, have had the beliefs of their religion instilled in them from a young age. When leaving home to go to college, they for the most part seek out peers with the same religious beliefs. For that reason, many religious groups have been established in collages all over the country. Religious beliefs are different, depending on the denomination, according to the First Amendment, we as Americans have the freedom of religion, speech and association. In this class we learned about religious freedom, it has helped me understand the news reports about the Christian student group at the University of Iowa who was accused of violating the Human rights of a former group member.
A Christian group, ‘Business Leaders in Christ (BLiC),’ were kicked off the campus at the University of Iowa and stripped of their established status on campus. The University of Iowa claimed the group violated the Human rights of an openly gay student by denning him a leadership position in the group. The student had stated “he rejected the groups religious beliefs and would not follow them.” The Christian Group sued the school in December 2017. Judge Stephanie M. Rose of the U.S. District for the Southern District of Iowa, found that the University of Iowa had violated the groups First Amendment rights to free speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion. Becket represented the group, vice president and senior counsel, Eric Baxter stated “The University wanted a license to discriminate, and Judge Rose said no way.” (Parke)
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Advocates of the gay and lesbian communities argue that, Judge Rose has given colleges and universities to allow discrimination. The advocates say despite their sexual orientation many homosexuals have religious beliefs and have the right to express them. Some religious organizations disagree, based on the beliefs of their culture homosexuality is not accepted. (Wolf) Although religious issues have changed over time, individuals who are devoted to their religious culture, utilize their freedom of religion and speech to defend their culture.
The Great Awakening in the 1730s was a series of uncoordinated local religious events, where revivalists from different religious cultures expressed their beliefs. They did so by holding public sermons and passing out pamphlets to the audience. Religious groups started these revivals because, ministers had concerns about lack of individual engagement in church services, due to the westward expansion, commercial development and the growth of rationalism. The Great Awaking was primarily aimed toward spiritual matters, it also reflected attention to social tensions. (Foner) The Christian Group and the revivalists were expressing their right to freedom of religion. Every American, religious or not, possess their own beliefs. Accepting diversity would decrease social tensions in society.