The Religious Freedom Amendment is needed to keep America from becoming just like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
You in our U.S. Congress will be saying by your vote on the Religious Freedom Amendment (RFA), on June 04, 1998, whether we are going to go down one road or another. The road of greater and greater intolerance’s of the expressions of faith until
America has no more freedom of religion than Iraq does under Saddam Hussein, or whether we are going to change direction, NOW, and head toward supporting true religious freedom. That freedom was originally laid out in the First Amendment but has been
re-interpreted and butchered by the U.S. Supreme court.
Both Presidents Bush and Clinton have remarked in great detail that Saddam Hussein’s Dictatorship of the Iraqi government has brought about much suffering for the Iraqi people. But, having personally been there I have seen that the problem is far
deeper and far bigger than just Saddam Hussein. It could even be said, by those who have fled Iraq, that the problem has some of it’s roots in the Religious Freedom issue.
As a boy growing up in Iraq, my dad would tell me about how on job applications there would be a question about one’s religious background. There were three options that could be checked off. They were Muslim, Christian or Jewish. The correct answer
was always Muslim. My dad could not check off the correct answer.
After the 1967, Six Day Arab Israeli War the Christians and Jews, living in Iraq, feared for their lives. The Iraqi government had started having public hangings in what could be called the Washington Mall of Baghdad. Men were hanged for being “spies”
for Israel and America. All the government had to do was to look at their job applications to find the Christians who they accused of being loyal to America and the Jews who they accused of being loyal to Israel.
In America it is illegal to ask people their religion on job applications. That is a good thing, but when we tell them to leave their religion at home when they come to work we are headed in the same direction that Iraq went.
Sham trials would take place where men would be convicted within the hour, of “spying” against the government of Iraq. They would be asked how they plead and no matter what they said they would be ruled guilty and sentenced to die, killed and hung
outside for display.
I was a child of between ten and twelve years of age when all this took place. I am now forty one years old and these are still vivid recollections. It was not always that bad in Iraq. There was a time when the Catholic Church was a solid presence.
After numerous military coups of the government all religious freedoms were removed and the only right religion became loyalty to the dictator.
This has made me extremely protective of my religious freedoms in America. We don’t currently have the threat of military coups and dictators but we face a more devious threat. Even Iraqi Muslims in America should be worried because the trend is that
any practice of faith in the public arena is inappropriate.
My parents who had worked for the American embassy in Iraq never dreamed they would see the blatant actions against people of faith they see on their television today. We left because they feared not only for their own lives but also for the lives of
their two sons, of which I am one of. They knew their sons were strong boys that were not afraid to speak out and they were terrified that they would not make it to adulthood. My parents risked their own lives to come to the United States of America so
their sons would be able to enjoy the religious freedom and be able to practice their faith.
Although we had to sneak out of the country of our birth we were fortunate to be able to be sponsored as legal immigrants to the United States. I was proud to become a Citizen of this great country in 1976 and I swore my allegiance to her and
renounced my allegiance to any other country.
Recently my five year old niece told her father that she wanted to be a stronger Christian than either her mom or her dad. I want her to grow up and be able to practice her Christian faith in America. I want her to be able to pray in public places
without the threat of arrest. I want her not to have to hide her faith at work. I want her to grow up learning an accurate history of this great nation and how it was founded according to biblical principles and how Christianity influenced many of the
founding fathers decisions, as well as their arguments for freedom, instead of a revised history purged of any references to any religious influence.
If you doubt there is a threat to my niece or to the practice of her faith there are numerous examples I could list that would prove the open practice of her faith is in grave danger. Rather than list them I will refer you to Congressman Istook’s web
page at Religious Freedom House - Congressman Istook's office. There are numerous examples of the loss of religious liberty listed there.
One such example is how you in “Congress had to block the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) from implementing its proposed regulations to restrict on-the-job religious discussions by workers”.
You in Congress should follow President Clinton’s well trodden example of listening to the polls. The polls are saying that over two-thirds of Americans believe that the Religious Freedom Amendment is the only solution to the problems of religious
intolerance being dished out by the Courts.
I must call on you to vote in favor of the Religious Freedom Amendment on June 04, 1998. My five year old niece is counting on you.