Get With It, America—a Teenager’s Appeal for Religious Tolerance

When I studied American history, I was taught that America is the land of the free.

So how can it be that, in the year 2020, there is still discrimination?

Why is it that my beliefs and my religion are not respected by all?

Young girl in front of American flag
Photo by OneSmallSquare/Shutterstock.com

I grew up in Scientology. I am not much different than your average 19-year-old. Just like my other friends are Muslims or Catholics, I am a Scientologist.

What my religion means to me is answers. It means knowing that whatever problem I might have or run into, I can resolve it with what I have learned and what I continue learning in Scientology. It means knowing that there is always a group there that I can count on and that can count on me.

Here we are in the year 2020 still fighting discrimination.

Growing up, I didn’t realize the stability that it gave me in life. As my friends from school ran into problems, I had simple solutions to help them. Later, putting myself in their position and imagining my life without Scientology, I realized how lucky I was. I get along better with my family thanks to it and can deal with difficult situations more easily.

I believe that Scientologists—just like every other person in America, and all around the world—should have a right to believe and practice the religion they choose.

How can it be, then, that tabloid media drag my religion into headlines however they see fit? Here we are in the year 2020 still fighting discrimination.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding the Declaration
Eleanor Roosevelt oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was dubbed “First Lady of the World” for her contribution. 
(Photo by FDR Presidential Library & Museum, Creative Commons)

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

That sounds reasonable and fair.

But then, why do some think that a person who is no longer part of my religion, who makes a living spreading lies and hate about it, is a reliable source on Scientology? It’s like asking a racist what they think of people of color.

With everything going on in the world right now, it is time to change. It is time to stop condoning discrimination of any kind.

I would rather we devote our energy to teaching the next generation to respect others—their color, beliefs and religion—instead of having to teach them how to protect themselves from discrimination.

Don’t you agree?

Author

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