Opinion: Religion should not serve as bias

morgan comiteBY MORGAN COMITE

ARTS & ENT PHOTO EDITOR

Marilyn Monroe, one of most celebrated actresses, was Jewish. The champion boxer, Mike Tyson, converted to Islam. Actor, Kevin Bacon, is an Atheist. But do we know these people for what religion they believe in? We recognize these people as who they are, not what they believe in.

According to Merriam-Webster, religion is the “belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power.” Because religion has always been a part of the world, it is the foundation of our very existence; however, this should not define a person. It does not guarantee success, good moral character, or level of intelligence. It is a belief, a preference, which is solely ones choice.

While the United States is supposed to be separate from the church, in the Pledge of Allegiance we recite “One Nation, Under God”.  If religion is not supposed to be used in court or education, why does a representation of our country’s patriotism have religious meaning? According to NY Daily News, a Texas high school student was suspended for refusing to recite the Pledge. Why should a student be punished and deprived from the right to education for protesting the Pledge even though our third President, Thomas Jefferson, said there should be “separation of church and state?” Some people may be very observant, where their religion and culture play tremendous parts in their lives.  Others consider themselves Atheist, in which they do not believe in religion at all. Students who feel this way may oppose to reciting the Pledge of Allegiance because it is considered offensive and disrespectful to their beliefs. This should not change a teacher’s impression of a student, nor of the student’s academic abilities.

In addition to this, on college applications and standardized tests there is boxes to check what religion students define themselves as, but their religious beliefs should not even be considered when applying to college. How does a belief impact what kind of work ethic a student has? In particular, Christian applicants can be viewed differently as a result of upsetting feelings toward the religion, which is totally unrelated to academics. Christian students from the Radiation Therapy Program at the Community College of Baltimore County were rejected, failed and expelled for attempting to spread their belief on campus. Under the First Amendment, Americans are given the right to freedom of speech and should not be affected academically by their religious belief.

Muslim Americans have been scrutinized stereotypically as terrorists because of attacks by Islamic terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. Although fear of terrorism is rational after events as tragic as the 9/11 attacks, it is unfair to group an entire religion as the enemy based on the actions of individual criminals. The Muslim religion is not the belief or violent attacks and not all Muslims are opposed to American ideology of democracy and capitalism.

Whether you attend church with your parents, or synagogue for the High Holiday seasonreligion plays a role in your everyday life. Although religion is something to believe in and practice, it should not serve as a bias toward others.

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