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Freedom of Religion

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If it seems there is a confluence of religious celebrations this time of year, that's because there is. Spring is the season of rebirth and many religions have ceremonies, rituals and holidays associated with it. Christians celebrate a series of days surrounding the death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection. Jews celebrate Passover, an eight-day celebration honoring their exodus from Egypt. Pagans and Wiccans celebrate the spring equinox and the rebirth of nature.

While 85 percent of North Americans claim to practice Christianity, the religion represents only 34 percent of the world's population. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects every American's right to worship the diety of their choice, even if that choice is no diety at all. Yet we still are witness to prejudice and discrimination toward those who hold different beliefs than our own. In an effort to bring awareness of some of the diversity even in our own homogenous Christian community, we bring you a look into a variety of different area religions. While the following religions represent some of those present in our community, they do not represent all. We have not written about pagans, Wicca, Eckankar, Zoroastarianism, Scientology, Baha'i, Confucianism, Islam, Jainism, Taoism, Shamanism, Shinto, native or tribal religions, or Sikhs although all may have practitioners residing in Southern Idaho. Our hope is that by becoming more aware of the practices and problems of those living among us, you will embrace tolerance for our neighbors.

-Bingo Barnes, Editor