Restless Minds December topic is freedom of religion

Bill Gates

The first words of the Constitution’s First Amendment are, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”

An increasingly contentious debate over freedom of religion hinges on those words. They will be the topic when the Restless Minds discussion group meets Tuesday, December 8.

The discussion will be held in the sewing room of Oakwood’s Arts and Crafts Center beginning at 7:00 p.m.

The Restless Minds group is receptive to all people with open, inquisitive minds. There are no dues or membership requirements. People of all political and social points of view are encouraged to engage in the friendly exchange of ideas each month. Just show up and participate.

The debate over religious freedom heated up most recently when the U.S. Supreme Court in effect found marriage between same-sex couples constitutional. This has led to a number of legal efforts, including a proposed First Amendment Defense Act in Congress and SB 1062 legislation in Arizona which then Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed two years ago. Both would broadly protect from discrimination by government anyone who believes that marriage should only be for one man and one woman.

The holiday season always brings talk of a War on Christmas. Discussion leaders Bill Gates and Bobbie Reed will ask participants whether public institutions at all levels have gone too far in trying to make events religion neutral.

Other questions expected to come up include what does separation of church and state mean? What constitutes a religion? What’s so awful about displaying the 10 Commandments in public places? How much are voters entitled to know about the religious views of presidential candidates?

For more information about Restless Minds contact Bill Gates or Bobbie Reed at 480-883-7410.