Reciprocal Tolerance: A National Ideal
Stephen L. Carter’s “The Culture of Disbelief” is a sweeping reminder regarding a social trend that pricks the religious sensibility of this devout citizen. The rhetorical situation he isolated craftily confronts his perception of the not so subtle prohibition on public exhibitions of personal belief. Using Stephen Carter’s article as sounding board, this cause and effect paper will show the need for sensitivity to individual belief, diversity, and personal freedom to avert the slippery slope that leads to the rise of discriminatory acts that squelch, prohibit, and prosecute public displays of religious practices (par. 19). This paper is an invitation for reciprocal tolerance that highlights the respectful understanding, appreciation, and celebration of our diversity. The goal is to promote a healthy dialogue that creates an atmosphere that genuinely exhibits the original intent of our Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers must have thought of the instances Carter cited when they drafted and ratified the First Amendment freedom guarantees. His observation, that “we do no credit to the ideal of religious freedom when we talk as though religious belief is something which public spirited adults should be ashamed (par. 16),” begs for clarification. Are the principles that guaranteed freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the separation of Church and State the same principles that fuel the despairing culture that dichotomize the public and private treatment of religious identity as lobbied by a select niche in society? In a balanced way, Carter observed that the assault is not just against the display of religious practices but even sacred grounds have been subjected to violation and diminishment. Rulings seemingly asserted that “… it is fine to be religious in private but there is something askew when those private beliefs become the basis for public action (par. 11).” It seems that the voices...
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