Religious freedom is quite literally the bedrock value on which the United States was founded and I argue it is in no small measure what makes it (one of) the greatest countries in the world.
Nothing is a better illustration of this point than all the recent news stories highlighting the extraordinary contributions and efforts of faith-based groups who have come to the aid of victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
I wonder—when the tides roll back, the bayous drain, and the state of emergency gives way to rebuilding—if we will remember our unity. Will the harmony evaporate too?
USA Today laid out the numbers in a recent article. And I saw it firsthand as my local Church of Scientology in Austin became the staging ground for deployment of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of care packages to the ravaged areas of Rockport and Houston and several stops in between. I personally rounded up trial-sized hygiene supplies from all over town and did airport runs for incoming Samaritans from coast to coast.
Evangelicals to Adventists, Methodists to Scientologists stood side by side to help their fellow man. Not unlike those diverse faiths which stood shoulder to shoulder to secure our country’s independence from the “storm” of tyranny.
It makes me proud to be a member of this greater religious community, honored for the opportunity to serve my fellow man, and united with others in our understanding of the basic singleness of humanity.
Sadly, I wonder—when the tides roll back, the bayous drain, and the state of emergency gives way to rebuilding—if we will remember our unity. Will the harmony evaporate too?
Will we forget our greater devotion and return to misunderstanding and mistrust? Will we neglect tolerance and accept (again) our prejudices?
Religion—faith in a higher power—is that intangible yet precious commodity on which civilization ultimately depends.
I hope we will all remember that.