There is a very fine line between freedom of religion and complete discrimination against a deliberately hunted and unjustly persecuted minority.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence recently signed a bill into law that can potentially grant businesses the ability to refuse service based on sexual orientation on grounds of personal and religious beliefs. This leads into the main issue at hand here being the gross misuse of religion to push agendas that leave out a growing minority.
The first fact that must be made clear before a debate on religion can be had is that there is no separation of church and state in this country. In fact, America was founded on Christian ideals, and since its conception, there have been numerous attempts to amend the constitution in order to accommodate the growing number of varying views amongst the people. Now that this fact is clear, it is important to mention that religion is a dangerous crutch people use in order to spread their own hate and fears.
There is nothing wrong with religion on any level. I myself am a religious man. But not being part of the majority, I have witnessed and felt the wrath of scared and small individuals who are deluded by their interpretation of their faith. Growing up in the heart of the Bible Belt in Texas jaded my view on Christianity for years, until I finally decided to do something about it and learn about my prosecutors instead of spewing the same hate that I was being subjected to.
Through my research, I learned that Christianity is a beautiful path one can take with important and vital beliefs shared by all religions, including its central message of unabridged love and acceptance. I was letting the hatred received from others cloud my judgment on the religion as a whole and for that I truly apologize. But when those who were considered friends and peers were expressing that they wanted to save me by trying to scare me into submission with promises of eternity in hell and calling my personal beliefs backwards witchcraft should have realized that they were the ones in the wrong. Those people are no longer in my life but sadly there are countless others that can easily replace them. Telling someone they are going to hell is not in any way going to convert someone to your side, and judgements such as those should be reserved for the divine. (If I am not afraid of the hereafter then why are you so concerned?)
However, I have had the pleasure of meeting what I consider true Christians and the love and acceptance I have felt emanating from them is something that would make anyone wonder about the grandeur and beauty of Jesus Christ and his message of absolute love. I understand that according to the religion, if I do not accept Jesus Christ as my savior then I will burn in hell. And guess what, I am completely okay with that. I did not ask you to save me. If I had any questions I would ask. Besides, it is not your place to judge and spread your own phobias and hate on others.
I know that many reading this will be angry at the fact that they are guilty of this behavior and choose to lash out at me for stating the truth as I have observed, but I could care less. Religion is meant to be a personal journey that we choose to take, and if I so choose to follow you, I will not do so blindly. For those that feel they are being targeted, you are. For those that have showed me love beyond reason through your faith and actions, I thank you for your kindness and showing me the truth. I no longer resent the Christian faith but cherish it as a beautiful path that if I ever choose to follow, I would gladly do so without fear.
I hate to break it to you, but there is diversity in the world. People are different and have vastly different beliefs and world views. Unabashed and unbridled love is the center of our existence as humans and we should show one another this love, not tear each other down. The world is a big and scary place but our coexistence is what makes it so beautiful.
I leave you with this final thought: using religion to suppress others is not its correct application and maybe you should consider who is the one that actually needs to be saved.