Cari Jennings


Relationship Status



Oakland High School

One Nation Under Whom?

March 09 2007

so, i have been meaning to post this for forever...i wrote this at the beginning of the year for English class, and though there are some rough spots, i really liked it. i hope you all will read it, though it is a bit long. let me know your opinions! thanks  and much love to you all!!!--Cari

                               One Nation Under Whom?

       Throughout the ages, religion has been an essential part of the human race. It gives us hope and a sense of purpose. Even if one does not identify with any sort of conventional religion, in the United States, he or she is not penalized for or prevented from practicing (or not practicing) it. In this country especially, religion is an integral part of our history. To exclude it from our lives and culture would truly be a tragedy.

               Most people, excepting sociopaths, have a conscience. This conscience tells one what is right and what is not, and also helps to define those situations which are not so black and white. Was this conscience created only to be left alone to its own devices? I think not. This instinctive moral code is found in almost every religion, especially Christianity, which was the impetus that compelled the English separatists to settle this nation, and the foundation from which it drew its ideas and system of government.

               The tenets of almost every religion emphasize doing right, i.e. the Ten Commandments and the Jewish Talmud, therefore it is ridiculous to say that including and/or incorporating religion into schools, government, or anywhere else is dangerous. Granted, there will always be those who use their religion as an excuse to hate, and even to enact violence on others who do not agree with their beliefs. But those actions of small sects of radicals do not justify the complete removal of a pillar of our society.

                In response to a critic, Thomas Jefferson once said, "Among the most inestimable of our blessings, also, is that…of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to His will; a liberty deemed by other countries incompatible with good government and yet proved by our experience to be its best support." This statement was reflected in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides citizens with freedom of religion, among other freedoms. This country was formed on the foundation of Christianity, a religion highly compatible with the ideals of democratic government, as it values sacrifice, selflessness, peace, and high moral character, among other such noble qualities. Christianity also respects free will, and, while it doesn't accept other religions as absolute truth, does not advocate the persecution, coercing, or killing of those who do not agree with its theology. How does one consider a religion which urges one to "turn the other cheek" to be violent and threatening?

                If anything, incorporating religion into schools and government strengthens tolerance. It is when one is shut off from learning about other beliefs that intolerance is bred. By telling our nation's children that they are not free to practice their beliefs, people are creating within their highly impressionable minds confusion and eventually contempt, which in turn could result in a downward spiral, leading to the downfall of this country. I am by no means advocating a theocracy, because many leaders have used theocracy as a weapon. As the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. But a line must be drawn somewhere. The American government, as well as the American people, seems to have developed a phobia of offending others. If the Whigs had not "offended" King George III and Parliament, there would not be a United States of America as we know it. It also seems as though it is acceptable to offend certain groups, while tip-toeing around others, an example being Christians. People complain that they are offended by the inclusion of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and millions speak out in agreement and angrily protest. And yet, last week, when I was called "ignorant and small-minded" because of some of my beliefs, I heard no rallying cry of support. No one stood up and came to my defense. This person was considered "brave" for calling me out on my intolerance, while, in truth, only showing their own. When did such hypocrisy become an admired quality? The day that we become what we claim to hate most is the day when we lose our souls. America has truly become the prodigal son.

                Some have also complained that they have had religion shoved down their throats and argue, therefore, that an absence of religion would be the best solution for America. But this idea itself is backward and utterly hypocritical. For one thing, a complete and total absence of religious belief/the belief that there is no God is a religion called atheism. Secondly, imposing this religion on those who are otherwise affiliated would be equally as unjust. Thirdly, the opinions of the loudest mouths are not necessarily the consensus view. We should not allow ourselves to be bullied by a whiny minority. In a time where the fool speaks loudest, it is utterly wrong to not stand up and fight for what is right. Some of the main problems with this nation are the lack of accountability and the lack of bold men and women who will stand up and speak out against what they know to be incorrect. What is going to have to happen before we realize how far we have fallen? The people of our nation are actually listening to quixotic babblers who have nothing aside from their own interests in mind. How is that people have become so milquetoast in their pursuit for truth and justice? In the words of William Butler Yeats, "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

              I do not fear, because I believe that this world, this nation belongs to the One who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. However, I will not insult people's intelligence with some Panglossian fluff. History is cyclical, and if we do not learn from it, it is destined to repeat itself. There are those who are slowly but surely trying to expel God from every facet of this nation, and the day that they succeed is not a day that I will want to see. Nowhere is it written that America is invincible or that our present way of life is permanent. Our nation is frighteningly comparable with ancient Rome, with our increasing appetite for violence, the overwhelming sensuality and perversity, and the pervasive materialism. I hope that this nation will learn from Rome's rejection of God and never forget, "For heathen heart that puts her trust in reeking tube and iron shard--- All valiant dust that builds on dust, And guarding calls not Thee to guard. For frantic boast and foolish word, Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!" (Rudyard Kipling).

              In conclusion, I do believe that all of this was well summarized by Ralph Waldo Emerson when he said, "A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming."  


March 10 2007
bold. brilliant. beautiful. (just like you!). you go girl, and stand up for what we know is right.