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Free Expression with No Reservation

First Amendment Applies to Religion, Too


Saturday, December 24, 2011

This season, we’ve heard a lot of conversations regarding the expression of religious beliefs. One big reason for the revival of this old discussion is Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos quarterback. He kneels down right in the middle of the field and makes hand and head gestures that unequivocally show that he is a believer.

Many criticize him, arguing that this could make some people uncomfortable. Some believe that this is an imposition of his faith upon those who don’t share the same beliefs, or any religious beliefs for that matter. Is that so? Hardly.

Silvia Uribe
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Silvia Uribe

When someone openly displays his or her faith, it is not a signal that others have to follow suit. The only expectation is that they will make a connection with the higher power they believe in. They are exercising their freedom of expression. That is it!

Is there any valid reason to take that freedom away? Perhaps nonbelievers have nothing to express in this regard — but surely that should not remove Tebow’s or anybody else’s right to express their faith.

If we extrapolate this reasoning to a completely different realm, it would be very difficult to make any sense of it. Consider, for instance, if those who have no car, because they prefer walking, were able to force others not to use their car either; or if, because I choose not to buy in Wal-Mart, others were not allowed to get in these stores. You get the idea.

Believers have no problem accepting that others may be agnostic or atheist. Why should agnostics or atheists have a problem accepting the fact that others have a faith? I am convinced that in the same way no one should impose action on others, no one should impose the absence of action either.

To each his or her own, and everyone should be able to act, as far as religious matters go, in the way they feel most comfortable, without having to please anyone else.

Click to enlarge photo

Silvia Uribe

All this verbose explanation of my point of view was made just to be able to wish my fellow Goletians (Goletanos in Spanish) a very:

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Ashura! Happy holidays to all!

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