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A Memory Comment On Freedom Of Religion from 2019


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I posted this reflection on my Face Book page in 2019 when today's date was Ash Wednesday.  Some of it is from my spiritual reflections, and other parts are from my legal studies and History / Public Administration background.  It is also possible I posted this or parts of it here back then.


<Omitted- picture of me with an Ash Wednesday ashen cross on my forehead.>




Shortly after noon today I knelt at the altar rail in one of my church homes where I had gone without anyone compelling me to go there or participate in the service where the image of a cross was made on my forehead by a priest whom I allowed to touch me for that purpose and no other. The mark was made on my forehead where I was comfortable with it being drawn by the priests thumb. This was my outward sign of my inward and freely thought out intention to spend time in the next few weeks taking a special look at the world around me, and how I take part in being a human being who is a good neighbor, who cares for my environment, who cares for people I will never meet but yet whose lives I can make better in many ways. In short, I have accepted a freely given invitation to revisit those parts of my spirit that will be more than reading one book at bed time. I am free to make these re-visitations using tools and means of many spiritual traditions and perhaps now and then actual Prayer.


You are free to find this useless, silly, non-productive, possibly blasphemous to your beliefs and many other things. You are free to contemplate and meditate on service and justice in your own ways and possibly end up in your spirits at different places than I will. In return for my freedom though, I am responsible to respect your freedoms of religion and spirituality. I am responsible for listening to you and perhaps disagreeing with you when you may be on a course of harm to others around us. You too have that responsibility if you see me about to needlessly harm others. There are other grave responsibilities that I have in exchange for the freedom I exercised today and those too will be looked at in the coming days. An underlying principal of the law here in the U.S. is that every right has a duty / responsibility that is as equally burdensome as the right Is uplifting. I need to look and accept that as much or more than I need to declare my rights and shout down the rights of others.


I am free to tell you what is on my heart but I am not free to impose my beliefs on you by use of force, cajolery, any kind of threat or proclamation of damnation. My disagreement with you does not constitute oppression against you and I will take affirmative steps in your favor and not sit by if true oppression in the form of laws favoring one spiritual persuasion or group over another. Where it is evident that some wish to have rights over the burden of responsibility I will oppose those actions since they will lead to oppression of all.


Have a blessed Lent or other time of reflection on your freedoms and responsibilities


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7 hours ago, VickySGV said:

I am free to tell you what is on my heart but I am not free to impose my beliefs on you by use of force, cajolery, any kind of threat or proclamation of damnation. My disagreement with you does not constitute oppression against you and I will take affirmative steps in your favor and not sit by if true oppression in the form of laws favoring one spiritual persuasion or group over another. Where it is evident that some wish to have rights over the burden of responsibility I will oppose those actions since they will lead to oppression of all.


I particularly agree with this paragraph.  Well put Vicky.





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