America was founded upon the belief that every person was entitled to the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Along with these inalienable rights, the American people also posses other rights such as the freedom of speech and religion. However, the freedom of speech and religion has caused many problems to the government and has forced the leaders to make difficult choices. Because of these freedoms many citizens have been harmed, either emotionally or physically. People who are not even religious may have also been harmed by religious people. In order to ensure protection of its people from the dangers of religion, the American government needs a total reformation; they need to posses the power to interfere with the people's practice of religion as well as free expression when it is detrimental to someone else. If the American government was allowed to interfere with its citizen’s right to practice their own religion of choice, it would go against the First Amendment. Whereby it was stated that the congress may not be allowed to make law due to respect and religion establishment or controlling the free exercise and abridging. In addition, to the significant of speech freedom and petition of the government for a redress of grievances (U.S. constitution).
Despite the good intentions of forefathers when penning the Constitution, they most likely did not realize the potential harm they would unleash on future American citizens. According to America’s constitution amendment 1 the issues related to ones freedom of press, speech, and religion; it is the government’s primary duty to protect its citizen's rights. Therefore, the government must be ready to solve instances where one person's rights conflict with another person's rights. This is because; the constitution goes ahead to protect the basic rights of an individual through government action. This is because it is believed that the government is supreme and capable of offering strategies and solutions in areas of misunderstandings among the various religious groups.
Government interference must be allowed when one’s life is in danger. An example of the government interference is in the case of Daniel Hauster. Hauster, a 13-year-old boy, suffer from Hodgkin's lymphoma. According to PubMed Hodgkin's lymphoma refers to cancer of lymph tissue sites. His parents refused to give him the conventional therapy for his cancer, chemotherapy and radiation, because of their religious background. Daniel’s parents were strong in believe and everything that came their way was viewed from a spiritual point. They believed in the supernatural power and the possible eventualities that could result from the same. Daniel's panel doctor said that Daniel had about an 80 percent probability to survive with chemotherapy and radiation. Daniel's parents' refusal of the treatment is unreasonable, because a child is not fully aware of the situation. They sentenced their own son to death by refusing the child access to treatment. Instead of treatment, they believed that "magic water" would be able to cure their child. In addition, bearing in mind that Daniel parents were Christians, they went ahead to incorporate issues such as fasting. This is because; they believe that this way they are strengthening their relationship with God thus healing of their son is possible. While struggling to strengthen their relationship with God, they are taking part in taking the Holy Communion, which includes wine. All this are smart moves, but to some extent has some considerable impact on his life as was more dangerous. While it is admirable that parents are willing to put so much faith in their religion, it is necessary for the government to interfere, as the child may not have been educated of modern medical practices and was most likely too young to evaluate his situation. When the government intervenes, Daniel will be able to get real and full understanding of the possible consequences of his illness.
In addition, he will be able to weigh the possible outcomes of an action he decides to take between the parent’s decisions for religious believe or get chemotherapy. Daniel eventually received one round of chemotherapy; however, he did not return for the second treatment. This resulted in the hospital contacting authorities, which led to Brown County attorney Jim filing a child in need protection or service petition. Daniel’s parents believe that God has put everything they needed on the planet and that it was up to them to find it. They believed that the alternative medicine was working because the tumor was shrinking, but according to doctors it was still fatal. According to MPR News, when Daniel was asked why he did not want to receive chemo, he replied that it could be better for him to die instead of going through chemo. Though, parents have the right to raise their children with a religious background, when a decision needs to be made in order to save their child's life, religion cannot be a factor. Religions should not put a person's life in danger, especially that of a child who is not capable of making own decisions. The government is given the power to override a child's parent's decision, even if the child currently agrees with the parent (U.S. constitution). Later in life, the child may have a change of heart and be thankful for the opportunity of life, rather than succumbing to his or her parent's religion.
Earlier, the government had decided to implement the 14th Amendment into the bill of rights which includes the due process to Daniel’s incident. This amendment was one of those considered suitable to be incorporated in situations when parents hold onto an issue that is considered to be unrealistic. Other clauses included in the 14th Amendment are the citizenship clause and the equal protection clause (U.S. constitution). The citizenship clause allowed minorities such as blacks to become citizens. Equal protection clause required every state to protect its citizens equally and without discrimination, which was implemented to help curb segregation. Part of the due process clause states that parents have the right to rear their children in any way they desire, and the state is allowed to interfere with an individual’s right to prevent harm or potential harm that can result to the child” (TROXEL V. GRANVILLE). Based on this already established amendment, government in within their legal rights to interfere and give the green light to give Daniel chemotherapy. Without chemotherapy, the child’s life is in obvious danger as he only has a 20% chance to survive without the treatment. Regardless of religion government is bound to help children in need, even if it is unwarranted.
An instance where government should have interfered with religion in order to protect its citizens is the Westboro Church Protest incident. The Westboro Baptist church protest was where the Westboro Church mockingly protested the death of a soldier, Matthew Snyder. “As they have at hundreds of other funerals” (Sherman) they held signs which had provocative messages, which included those of thanking God for the soldiers who died and how much God heated USA. This behavior is unacceptable because it can go as far as affecting the morel of the American citizens not only the morel of the Soldiers. In the event, that the government does not take an action about such protest, citizens and more specifically the soldiers will be embraced. In addition, may find it not being necessary to peruse their work with cushion and to the expectation. Furthermore, if the government continues to allow protest to happen, fewer and fewer soldiers will enlist due to the lack of support. Eventually America will have to bring the draft and citizens can refuse to be drafted citing their religion as a reason not to fight. If this were to happen, America would be defenseless and vulnerable to penetration. Westboro church is directly harming the country with their protest, and at the same time going against their own religion, as well. This is because; the soldiers might consider withdrawing their efforts of trying to protect the nation and consider relaxing. As a result, this can lead to increased crimes in the state thus high level of insecurity. Although, at times, it has been argued that the solders exercise their powers excessively, they do this with an attempt of ensuring security in the state. In addition, they do this in line with the requirements that have been put forth by the states or government regulations. Therefore, the solders should not be blamed for their action, but rather it is necessary for the citizens especially the Christians who go protesting to understand the rules and regulations of the land.
Government intervention is also necessary when religious acts could cause chaos in society. The plan to have a mosque built near "Ground Zero" site in Manhattan has been one of the most controversial issues recently. The "Ground Zero" used to be the site of World Trade Center, which was destroyed by the Muslim militant group al-Qaida. The disaster is known as 9/11 which gave all Muslims a notorious reputation. In America, all of the decisions are made by the majority; thus, government should listen to the majority. This is in accordance with the democracy rule that ignore the decisions of the minority. Therefore, this means that the minority will have to hold onto the decisions of the majority. This is because; ones a decision has been made by a majority, the few who were earlier against such decision will have no option but to hold onto the majority's view. If such democracy rule is not put in place then, the presidential candidate with fewer votes should win, bills with more objections and become laws for instance Albert Snyder, Matthew’s father, should have won his case in the “8-1 decision, in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka” (Sherman). This does not mean that the minority in this case will have no say completely, but will be subjected to some level of restrictions. For instance, in a government where there is a president who has been elected by a majority, the running mate has been elected by a minority will lead the opposition or the opposing side. From this, the views of the minority will be presented for debate by the opposition leader. In the case of America at some point, President Obama made a statement in the White House, as a citizen, and more so a president. He stated that he agreed with the fact that Muslims had equal rights to exercise and practice religion like everyone else in the country. In addition, this included ones right to build some place for worship and center for the community on a private property at the lower Manhattan, according to local laws and ordinances (Socolovsky).
However, granting the Muslims a mosque is equivalent to insulting all of the 9/11 victims in the eyes of the Americans who oppose the mosque. A mosque near the “Ground Zero” site would be like a statue of Hitler in a Jewish community or having a Klan meeting in the open in a predominantly black neighborhood. No idea among these is considered suitable and capable of setting up the general society. Rather than fighting to build a mosque near "Ground Zero”, Muslims eager to repair their terrible reputation should teach people the true meaning of Islam. Muslims do not need a mosque near the “Ground Zero” site specifically, and the American government would not be disallowing them to build Mosques.
This can be banned by raising a debate to discuss on the various strategies that can be used. In addition, a referendum can be conducted to determine the minority and the majority votes on having a mosque near the “Ground Zero”. From there, a decision can be made on whether to have a mosque at the stated place or not. Personal judgments on having a mosque near Ground zero are like insulting 9/11 be made and implemented. Citizen’s views should be analyzed before coming up with the final decision. This will ensure that the Muslims are not offended and that everything put in place is fair to all.
At times, the Americans take for granted that the fact that it is necessary and equally suitable for one to speak his or her mind. This arises in situations where they just imagine of the possible consequences and outcomes of speaking their minds. This is because; at times, their options are corrupted or even ignored by the people holding influential positions in the government. For instance, one might not be able to hold a petition against the government because it has a considerable influence and control of the common citizen’s action.
To some extent, some of the earlier colonists America who contributed toward the implementation of the constitution are struggling to ensure that they do not undergo religious persecution; because, they are aware of the possible consequences. The greatest part of states constitution prohibits public support of a religion. Despite these, some individuals due to their religion go against this thus ending up in illegal actions and violation of the requirements of the constitution. United States of America found to be expedient not to allow public support of religions so that it can be fair to the many religious groups. In addition, the main aim was to ensure that aspect of demonstrating some level of bias that can result is totally eliminated. This is because, if America allowed this, it could result in many people living the country due to religious persecution thus portraying a negative image about America. So in the amendment, the government has been put out of religious issues. This does not mean that America does not value religion, but rater determined on bias elimination.
Despite the fact that it is essential to have the government safeguarding people from religious frustration (U.S. constitution), it is also equally necessary to ensure that people should also be in a position of controlling themselves. This is because; the constitution ensures regulated control of the government on religious issues. For instance, in a case of government interfering relevant procedures and stapes should be put into consideration. Everyone in a country has a right and freedom to express his or her religious believes without violating the rights of other citizens. In addition, while expressing your religious view, one ort not to discriminate others, but rater considers the other person’s religion equally critical according to UPS. As the American government is trying to protect its political power, it should have the power to interfere with the practice of religion or the free expression of conscience. This is unavoidable because the religious beliefs cannot always satisfy the best interest of the country, and may sometimes even cause injury individuals or society. While it is necessary for the government to protect people from religious harm, it is also equally essential to ensure that people are allowed to practice their religion freely assuming it is not harming anyone. One such case of government interfering due to a person’s religious beliefs, with no one at harm is the case where UPS fired Nieland Bynoe.
UPS wanted Bynoe to shave off his beard and dreadlocks in compliance with the companies grooming policies. Bynoe's Rastafarian religion, contributed to his action that made UPS fire him on the spot. UPS should have given him accommodations, as it is reasonable and does not “impose an undue hardship” (EEOC). Bynoe’s beard and dreadlocks would not interfere with his duties as they do not impair his job to drive a vehicle nor does it make lifting packages any harder. The UPS finally paid $46,000 to Bynoe and the company was asked to provide equitable relief to resolve a religious discrimination. No one's life is at risk since Nieland Bynoe is legal citizens who deserves to practice his religion, the government should interfere in this case to protect him from being discriminated.
An example where government wrongfully interfered with religion would be in the case of a Muslim teacher, Safoorah Khan, who had requested 3 weeks off to conduct a pilgrimage to Mecca. The school denied her request, claiming that the "purpose of her leaving was not related to her professional duties". Because Ms. Khan was a very faithful Muslim, she ultimately quit her job to attend the pilgrimage and later filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The government sued the school district on her behalf, but this was very unnecessary. All that was left for her was to wait until it was time for the hajj in summer vacation this is because from then there could be no other problem. (Jihad Watch).
While her religion states that she must make this pilgrimage once during her lifetime, there is nothing that forced her to take her leave when she did. The school weeks are only nine months long, it is unreasonable for her to expect to keep her job when she is asking for one tenth of a year’s time off. If she were allowed leave, her students would have had difficulty adjusting to a long-term substitute, and would have to readjust to the teacher when she came back. This is unfair for students and would hinder their learning, which the primary purpose of educational institutions is. The school's decision to reject her leave was the correct decision, and it was wrong for the government to interfere because this was clearly not religious prejudice.
It is worth nothing that as it is stated in the constitution, the government should express minimum control on religious issues interference (U.S. constitution). This is because; the aim in America is to ensure that religious discrimination is eliminated to the fullest. In addition, the aim is to ensure that all citizens regardless of their religious back ground get enough and equal opportunities to express their religious feeling. Religious freedom is an issue that oath to be enjoyed by every other citizen without being discriminated or eliminated by anyone. In addition, the exaggeration of the freedom of speech and religion should be prohibited; the unfair treatment towards religious believers should be avoided. As people's main influence, government should carefully handle these issues to maintain the balance.