Thursday, January 7, 2010

January 2010 Social Justice Challenge

The Social Justice Challenge topic for January is Religious Freedom. Here are the questions posted on the website. What are your thoughts? Mine are below.

What knowledge do you have of present threats to religious freedom in our world today?
Everything is centered around Religion - Abortion, Gay Marriage, Terrorism. People obviously feel that their beliefs are threatened, or there wouldn't be such constant global upheaval.
I feel like people worry way too much about others, when it is really none of their business (unless, of course, they are in some way harming others, etc). For example, it is ok if you do not personally agree with abortion. You have that right. However, you should not have the right to impose your belief onto another. (Honestly, separation of Church and State is the biggest piece of bullhonkey they ever taught us in school!) If we could all just accept each other as being different - and stop being AFRAID of those that are different - then we might just have a better future. TOLERANCE and ACCEPTANCE are the name of the game. We don't have to be the Stepford Wives to enjoy this life we live. In fact, our differences are what make living so damn interesting!

Have you chosen a book or resource to read for this month? I think I will check out the website. Looks VERY interesting.

Why does religious freedom matter to you? In all honesty, religion doesn't play a role in my life. I'm not religious, and neither is my husband. We were both raised in Christian environments, but our families didn't practice the religion. I am very curious about the unanswered questions we all have, but I do not dwell on trying to figure them out. I sometimes consider myself Agnostic, but that isn't very accurate either. However, I am VERY interested in learning about religions though, and I have always enjoyed talking to others about their beliefs. I find the religions of the world so very interesting. That being said - I DO believe all people have the right to safely practice and believe in their religion. There is just no reason that it cannot be this way.

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of religious freedom? The freedom to practice and believe in any religion of the world, in any place of the world. The ability to choose what activities, holidays, events and everyday norms you will participate in. The choice to refrain from an activity, such as the Pledge of Allegiance, if it does not honor your religion.

This post is all very much my own opinions. Please let me know yours - in a civilized, non-threatening manner, of course.


  1. I like one of your first statements best: people worry about other people too much. That is SO true. If we all worried about living the best, most honest, and kindest lives ourselves the world would be a better place

  2. Religious freedom is a principle held sacred in the United States as one of our civil liberties. Unfortunately, for many people, this is not the case everywhere in the world and the history of the world is rife with conflict about freedom and rights.

    I really don't care what others believe as long as they don't impose their beliefs and their will on me. However, I will fight, in whatever way I can, against anyone who threatens our way of life and freedoms.

    Separation of church and state is a Constitutional necessity to ensure/guarantee religious rights. It prevents the state from interfering in religious life and practices. The government must not endorse or curtail (that includes giving financial support to) activities affecting religious freedom. Just think about how quickly the current administration took over the auto industry with economic justification. There may be economic justification to interfere in religious freedom as well. I want my freedoms to be respected by our government and foreigners who think I should believe and behave in ways that make them happy. No way!
    Jan H

  3. hcmurdoch: We do need to mind out own business and find value in all people.

    Jan: I don't think separation of church and state exists, because if it did, then it would not be so ingrained in governments of the world. However, since most governments were founded on religious principles, I don't see a way to ever fully separate the 2.

  4. I love your thoughts! You hit the spot with your opinion on keeping things to oneself.
    I also think if more of us followed the social work "strengths perspective" then we could really "be the change"

    thank you for stimulating my intellect!


  5. Please note I indicated that separation of church and state exists in the United States and in our Constitution. It certainly does NOT exist all over the world. That's what supports our freedoms and civil rights and probably why I feel that bringing Democracy to other countries will improve the lives of those people. Our rights do gets trampled on in this country from time to time, but we have Constitutional law to protect us and our liberties.
    Jan H

  6. Jan - I totally get what you are saying. However, I feel separation of church and state is a big buncha bologna! The church (ie. Christianity) is still WAY involved in our government. I know that is what our country was founded on, so maybe it makes sense to keep in the government for that reason? However, I still think it has way too much power and say in the every day life of society.

  7. Dear Ash H.
    I'm not clear what you're saying... that the gov't is too involved in the church? or the church is too involved in government? The separation powers are relevant only for the government. It is not an issue for other institutions, e.g., churches. Churches are as partisan as every other organization!

    As a student of social work you and other students should know of how Social Work schools have imposed their political perspective, which is an extreme liberal one, on student's religious beliefs. If you're that student, you'll understand why you need civil rights protections. They've done this by insisting students engage in social action activities that are not consistent with students' religious beliefs. A case in point is insisting a student lobby legislators supporting pro-abortion bills, when the student is pro-life, and grading them down or flunking them for not participating and for following their own beliefs.

    Lest you think I'm mistaken, several legal cases in 2008, brought by students against universities and faculty, were won by the students. You can find a discussion of this and other problems with social work education on the National Assn of Scholars website, e.g. Also look there for an article by Dr. David Stoetz "The Scandal of Social Work Education" which should give you a head's up about social work professional credentialing. No one should allow any faculty or SW program push them around re: their own religious beliefs. Social work education has been criticized for this over the years.
    Jan H

  8. Jan-

    Thank you for the great resources to look over. I, for one, have not experienced, or witnessed, any type of political perspective being pushed upon anyone in my classes, nor have I ever heard a Social Work professor/administrator push such views upon us. However, I don't doubt that it happens. Doing so, however, takes the entire social work ideals and flushes them down the toilet. And yes, civil rights need to be protected at all costs.

    As far as church and state, I feel like the CHURCH is still way too involved in the STATE. Maybe it's just society, in general, that is so pushy of these Christian ideals? Who knows...