Is Religious Expression Over? American Teen Shares What His Hindu Faith Means

Religious freedom has been a distinguishing feature of American culture since its early days. But an onslaught of negativity from the media and educational institutions seems to have taken a toll on religious freedom. With the increase of safe spaces and regulation on university campuses and throughout the public square, religion is being pushed to the sidelines of American society.

Such attacks on religious freedom are nothing new, but they may have reached a new level of intensity. A survey conducted by Amicus in 2015 found 58 percent of millennials agreed with the statement that religion “is personal and should not play a significant role in society.”

In other words, 58 percent of millennials believe you can be religious, just as long as no one knows. Glenn responded to these findings with a call to return to a Constitution-based foundation.

“We need to find ways to shore up the Constitution and start teaching the Constitution,” he said, adding that educating the next generation with these fundamental freedoms is essential. “They will not rise up to protect or defend something [when] they don’t even know what it is.”

So what does the Constitution have to say about religion?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Then what do young people have to say?

We interviewed Rajesh, a millennial from the Dallas-Fort Worth area (who asked us to change his name), to get his perspective on religious expression as a young, Hindu American. His responses were eye-opening.

Meet Rajesh

A frisbee throwing, trombone playing, 18-year-old, Rajesh was recently accepted at the University of Illinois where he plans to study computer science. It's his dream to enter the field of bio informatics or artificial intelligence.

Outside of sports, studies and musical pursuits, Rajesh can occasionally be found at the Dallas-Fort Worth Hindu temple.

Ornate architecture at the Dallas-Fort Worth Hindu Temple. Photo from DFW Hindu Temple Society Facebook page.

Born in New Jersey, Rajesh moved to Texas when he was a toddler. He said his religion makes up some of his earliest memories and was an important part of his life growing up. His parents, who were both born and raised in India, taught him many aspects of the Hindu faith, which he continues to practice today.

"Like many people know, there are a ton of deities and there a ton of different ceremonies and rituals," Rajesh said.

Although not highly devout, Rajesh said he enjoys participating in the rituals and traditions, because it allows him to unite with friends and family.

"I still go to the temple with my family, occasionally on Sunday," he said. "My mom still has me do puja in our puja room in our house occasionally. I go to some religious ceremonies."

Puja is most easily explained as a prayer session. Some of the ceremonies he described involve festivals with chariots, fireworks and color-throwing. He also described some of his religious dietary practices.

"One minor thing is that I don’t eat any meat. Mondays and Thursdays, in particular, are considered to be 'auspicious' days. So as it is we don’t eat pork, but on those days we don’t eat chicken, eggs or fish," Rajesh said.

Ceremonial items at the Dallas-Fort Worth Hindu Temple. Photo from DFW Hindu Temple Society Facebook page.

When asked how he feels about the importance of such festivals and practices, Rashesh said it's "not a huge deal."

"I think they’re important to the culture that’s associated with India and Hinduism itself," he said. "But I personally don’t really care if it stays or not. I think for my mom and my dad it’s pretty important to them, but for me and my brothers, it’s not a huge deal."

Rajesh said he, like many Hindu people, considers Mahatma Gandhi a role model who inspires him in many ways. Admitting he'd never experienced the type of opposition Gandhi did, Rajesh seemed fine with allowing people to exercise religion freely, so long is it does not interfere with the basic rights of others.

Regarding his future religious practice, he said, "I don’t care too much for the small everyday things, but I do like the things like Diwali, Holi and when we go to the temple, when you see all these families coming together. I do like that and probably will carry that on."

Conclusion

As the political divide deepens in America, it's important we allow ourselves to be exposed to new cultures, practices and traditions. Our nation needs healing. The more love, empathy and understanding we can show towards others, the less divided we will be.

It's time to return to the Constitution of our nation. No longer can we urge people to hold back on living their religion due to risks of offense and discrimination. Regulation and indifference are strangling the life out of our culture.

In a takeaway from the survey on religion among millennials, Emily Hardman, president of Amicus Communications, emphasized religion is more than an institution:

It is linked to the very core of their human dignity, that religious belief above any other right is what makes us human, that ability to seek truth, to embrace truth and to express that truth is score to what it means to be human.

Because faith is more than just a thought, the exercise of religion must be tolerated as it is what holds the fabric of this nation together.

What about you?

We believe many members of Glenn's audience have stories worth sharing with the potential to touch people's lives and influence the world for good. If you'd like to share your story and have it featured on GlennBeck.com, let us know in the comments section below.

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In light of the national conversation surrounding the rights of free speech, religion and self-defense, Mercury One is thrilled to announce a brand new initiative launching this Father's Day weekend: a three-day museum exhibition in Dallas, Texas focused on the rights and responsibilities of American citizens.

This event seeks to answer three fundamental questions:

  1. As Americans, what responsibility do we shoulder when it comes to defending our rights?
  2. Do we as a nation still agree on the core principles and values laid out by our founding fathers?
  3. How can we move forward amidst uncertainty surrounding the intent of our founding ideals?

Attendees will be able to view historical artifacts and documents that reveal what has made America unique and the most innovative nation on earth. Here's a hint: it all goes back to the core principles and values this nation was founded on as laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

Exhibits will show what the world was like before mankind had rights and how Americans realized there was a better way to govern. Throughout the weekend, Glenn Beck, David Barton, Stu Burguiere, Doc Thompson, Jeffy Fisher and Brad Staggs will lead private tours through the museum, each providing their own unique perspectives on our rights and responsibilities.

Schedule a private tour or purchase general admission ticket below:

Dates:
June 15-17

Location:

Mercury Studios

6301 Riverside Drive, Irving, TX 75039

Learn more about the event here.

About Mercury One: Mercury One is a 501(c)(3) charity founded in 2011 by Glenn Beck. Mercury One was built to inspire the world in the same way the United States space program shaped America's national destiny and the world. The organization seeks to restore the human spirit by helping individuals and communities help themselves through honor, faith, courage, hope and love. In the words of Glenn Beck:

We don't stand between government aid and people in need. We stand with people in need so they no longer need the government

Some of Mercury One's core initiatives include assisting our nation's veterans, providing aid to those in crisis and restoring the lives of Christians and other persecuted religious minorities. When evil prevails, the best way to overcome it is for regular people to do good. Mercury One is committed to helping sustain the good actions of regular people who want to make a difference through humanitarian aid and education initiatives. Mercury One will stand, speak and act when no one else will.

Support Mercury One's mission to restore the human spirit by making an online donation or calling 972-499-4747. Together, we can make a difference.

What happened?

A New York judge ruled Tuesday that a 30-year-old still living in his parents' home must move out, CNN reported.

Failure to launch …

Michael Rotondo, who had been living in a room in his parents' house for eight years, claims that he is owed a six-month notice even though they gave him five notices about moving out and offered to help him find a place and to help pay for repairs on his car.

RELATED: It's sad 'free-range parenting' has to be legislated, it used to be common sense

“I think the notice is sufficient," New York State Supreme Court Judge Donald Greenwood said.

What did the son say?

Rotondo “has never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assisted with chores and the maintenance of the premises, and claims that this is simply a component of his living agreement," he claimed in court filings.

He told reporters that he plans to appeal the “ridiculous" ruling.

Reform Conservatism and Reaganomics: A middle road?

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio broke Republican ranks recently when he criticized the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act by stating that “there's no evidence whatsoever that the money's been massively poured back into the American worker." Rubio is wrong on this point, as millions of workers have received major raises, while the corporate tax cuts have led to a spike in capital expenditure (investment on new projects) of 39 percent. However, the Florida senator is revisiting an idea that was front and center in the conservative movement before Donald Trump rode down an escalator in June of 2015: reform conservatism.

RELATED: The problem with asking what has conservatism conserved

The "reformicons," like Rubio, supported moving away from conservative or supply-side orthodoxy and toward policies such as the expansion of the child and earned income tax credits. On the other hand, longstanding conservative economic theory indicates that corporate tax cuts, by lowering disincentives on investment, will lead to long-run economic growth that will end up being much more beneficial to the middle class than tax credits.

But asking people to choose between free market economic orthodoxy and policies guided towards addressing inequality and the concerns of the middle class is a false dichotomy.

Instead of advocating policies that many conservatives might dismiss as redistributionist, reformicons should look at the ways government action hinders economic opportunity and exacerbates income inequality. Changing policies that worsen inequality satisfies limited government conservatives' desire for free markets and reformicons' quest for a more egalitarian America. Furthermore, pushing for market policies that reduce the unequal distribution of wealth would help attract left-leaning people and millennials to small government principles.

Criminal justice reform is an area that reformicons and free marketers should come together around. The drug war has been a disaster, and the burden of this misguided government approach have fallen on impoverished minority communities disproportionately, in the form of mass incarceration and lower social mobility. Not only has the drug war been terrible for these communities, it's proved costly to the taxpayer––well over a trillion dollars has gone into the drug war since its inception, and $80 billion dollars a year goes into mass incarceration.

Prioritizing retraining and rehabilitation instead of overcriminalization would help address inequality, fitting reformicons' goals, and promote a better-trained workforce and lower government spending, appealing to basic conservative preferences.

Government regulations tend to disproportionately hurt small businesses and new or would-be entrepreneurs. In no area is this more egregious than occupational licensing––the practice of requiring a government-issued license to perform a job. The percentage of jobs that require licenses has risen from five percent to 30 percent since 1950. Ostensibly justified by public health concerns, occupational licensing laws have, broadly, been shown to neither promote public health nor improve the quality of service. Instead, they serve to provide a 15 percent wage boost to licensed barbers and florists, while, thanks to the hundreds of hours and expensive fees required to attain the licenses, suppressing low-income entrepreneurship, and costing the economy $200 billion dollars annually.

Those economic losses tend to primarily hurt low-income people who both can't start businesses and have to pay more for essential services. Rolling back occupational licenses will satisfy the business wing's desire for deregulation and a more free market and the reformicons' support for addressing income inequality and increasing opportunity.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality.

Tax expenditures form another opportunity for common ground between the Rubio types and the mainstream. Tax deductions and exclusions, both on the individual and corporate sides of the tax code, remain in place after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Itemized deductions on the individual side disproportionately benefit the wealthy, while corporate tax expenditures help well-connected corporations and sectors, such as the fossil fuel industry.

The favoritism at play in the complex tax code perpetuates inequality. Additionally, a more complicated tax code is less conducive to economic growth than one with lower tax rates and fewer exemptions. Therefore, a simpler tax code with fewer deductions and exclusions would not only create a more level playing field, as the reformicons desire, but also additional economic growth.

A forward-thinking economic program for the Republican Party should marry the best ideas put forward by both supply-siders and reform conservatives. It's possible to take the issues of income inequality and lack of social mobility seriously, while also keeping mainstay conservative economic ideas about the importance of less cumbersome regulations and lower taxes.

Alex Muresianu is a Young Voices Advocate studying economics at Tufts University. He is a contributor for Lone Conservative, and his writing has appeared in Townhall and The Daily Caller. He can be found on Twitter @ahardtospell.

Is this what inclusivity and tolerance look like? Fox News host Tomi Lahren was at a weekend brunch with her mom in Minnesota when other patrons started yelling obscenities and harassing her. After a confrontation, someone threw a drink at her, the moment captured on video for social media.

RELATED: Glenn Addresses Tomi Lahren's Pro-Choice Stance on 'The View'

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this uncomfortable moment and why it shows that supposedly “tolerant" liberals have to resort to physical violence in response to ideas they don't like.