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Word Count: 554
The freedom of expressing oneself seems to be extremely important for us Americans Yet because I have not had to fight for my freedom as the generations before me I often take my freedoms for granted Now as I think of how a democracy is so open and accepting of a persons right to expression I realize how thankful I am for all of my freedoms especially for my freedom of religion Freedom of religion is the right to believe in and to practice the faith of ones choice It also includes the right to have no religion at all The United States of America was originally founded in order to provide religious freedom to the Puritans who were being persecuted for their beliefs in England Since they did not agree with the Church of England and could not worship the way they wanted they felt that their only escape would be to go somewhere where they could have religious freedom Here in America they based the Constitution upon freedoms that they felt were important especially the freedom of religion Today freedom of religion remains an active issue in the United States Various court rulings have interpreted the First Amendment to mean that the government may not promote or give special treatment to any religion Judges have struck down plans that call for the government not to give financial aid to religious schools The courts have also ruled unconstitutional a number of programs to teach the Bible or to recite prayers in public schools These rulings are highly controversial because religion touches the deepest feelings of many people Freedom of religion is a political principle that forbids government constraint on people in their choice of beliefs Religious freedom requires also that one be free to act upon those beliefs It therefore includes the freedom to worship to print instructional materials to train teachers and to organize societies for their employment Thus freedom of religion
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