Have you ever hear about Peter Salem?
He was born in 1750, an African-American slave in Massachusetts. When Salem received his freedom in 1775, he went and joined the Continental Army and fought for our nation’s freedom.
As part of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, Salem fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the first significant battles of the American Revolution, one that showed that the colonies actually might have a chance at winning independence.
According to chronicles of the battle, Salem mortally wounded British Marine Major John Pitcairn. Salem went on to serve a total four years and eight months in the Continental Army, and was honorably discharged on Dec. 31, 1779.
We owe our freedom to the service and the sacrifices of other Muslims like him.
One of the greatest freedoms we have in our country is the freedom of religion. Guaranteed by the First Amendment, it assures that we have the right to worship God according to the custom of our beliefs, free of government interference or regulation.
That means that in all 50 states, Christian children are free to pray. So are Jewish children. So are Muslim children. That’s always been the case. What’s not permitted is for a representative of the state, such as a teacher, to initiate those prayers, because that adds an air of government endorsement if not outright coercion to those prayers.
And really, do we really want to create an environment in our public schools where children from a minority religion like Judaism or Islam are set up for ridicule because they don’t join in a prayer to Jesus?
I know I don’t. And I’m sure you don’t either.