I got an email forward lamenting the absence of God in public schools. I know you’ve all seen them – some are less offensive than others, and this one was slightly less – with a catchy play on the “Mary had a little lamb” nursery rhyme, and cute pictures of kids playing with lambs.

At the end of it, however, it said, “86 percent of Americans, Canadians, and British believe in God. Why don’t we just tell the other 14 percent to sit down and shut up?”

There are so many things wrong with this statement, all of which encompass the idea of Tyranny of the Majority. It also cleverly leaves out the fact that there are two monotheistic, very much NON Christian religions that probably fall in that 86 percent statistic – Judaism and Islam. In case you haven’t forgotten, no matter what we decide to call him, all three of us believe in the same God (Yahweh, or Allah). It doesn’t mean that we all subscribe to the same belief structure. Plus, how many sects of Christianity are different from one another?

But, aside from semantics of this statistic, that “14 percent” represents something much bigger than the issue at hand. Should we have told the suffragettes to sit down and shut up? What about Martin Luther King? More importantly, should we have told the American colonists to sit down and shut up when we seceded from King George?

That statement is not about freedom to practice religion. It’s about oppressing and suffocating the rights of someone “different” to practice and alternative religion, or no religion at all.

The First Amendment was there for a reason. No one likes a Bloody Mary.

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