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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A town in Sweden is under fire after denying requests to ring church bells in the 1990s and the 2000s but recently approving a mosque's request to conduct a weekly Islamic call to prayer.

RELATED: Media's anti-Israel, pro-Islam bias sweeps THIS fact under the rug

Authorities in the town of Vaxjo in southern Sweden have given the local mosque a one-year permit to recite the call to prayer every Friday for about four minutes. But Fr. Ingvar Fogelqvist of St. Michael's, the local Catholic church located about a mile from the mosque, says similar requests to ring church bells were denied.

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this story and favorable bias toward the Muslim faith. The issue isn't that the Islamic call to prayer is allowed; it's that all religions are not being treated equally.

Somebody might want to check the temperature in hell, it might be just a tad chillier than normal.

If you missed Friday's episode of The Glenn Beck Program, you missed something you probably never thought you'd see in this timeline or any other. Glenn actually donned President Trump's trademark red "Make America Great Again" hat and laid out the case for why he thinks Trump will win in a landslide in 2020.

RELATED: The media's derangement over Trump has me wearing a new hat and predicting THIS for 2020

Bottom line: Nancy Pelosi and the mainstream media may have pushed Glenn to this point, but believe it or not, Trump's record will make this next election a walk in the park for number 45. At this point, the sitting president has done enough to earn even Glenn's vote.

Glenn broke down what he thought were the 10 biggest campaign promises that — unlike those made by most politicians — Trump actually kept.

10. Impose a 10% repatriation tax to bring jobs back to America

Not all of Trump's promises were good ones, but regardless of what the consequences may be — he did keep this one.

"Now, I think this one is dangerous," Glenn said on radio Friday. "He did it. Ten percent. Bring all of your money back into the United States. It will create jobs. Yes. It will also create inflation. But it's creating jobs."

9. Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

This has been one of Trump's most passionate issues.

"The stop the TPP. Uh-huh. Right. Sure you are. Uh-huh. Yes. He did," Glenn admitted.

8. Withdraw from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord

Glenn found himself eating crow on this.

"I'm on record saying he will never do that because his daughter is a huge global warming person and he only listens to the family. Eh. Wrong," Glenn said with a puff of crow feathers coming from his mouth.

7. Bring North Korea to the table and rein them in

This looked impossible. Not so.

"'I'm going to bring North Korea to the table.' Are you? Everybody has tried to do that," Glenn said. "Now, they're at the table. We don't know what's going to happen. So the result of that is unknown. But has anybody else done that?"

6. Stop over-regulation and jump-start the economy

It's the economy, stupid.

"Does anybody feel like America is beginning to get on track somewhat economically? You know why? Because he fulfilled another promise," Glenn said. "Stop over-regulating the American people. Give them their money. Give the companies the opportunity to expand and bring their money back into the country, and maybe they'll build buildings. Maybe they'll build offices. Maybe they'll build new products. Maybe they'll build new factories. Maybe they'll hire a bunch of people."

Glenn went on.

"Now, I know Seattle is trying to do everything they can to make sure everybody in their city is homeless and unemployed, but the rest of the country is enjoying the feeling of, wow, maybe things are going to be okay."

5. Reverse Obama's executive orders

If you're like Glenn, you've gotten used to politicians promising "no new taxes," but you can really tell they're lying if their lips are moving. Guess what? That's apparently not Trump.

"The executive orders? Yeah. He's reversed a lot of Obama's executive orders," Glenn said. "These are outrageous promises."

4. Pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

No big deal...

"'I'm going to cancel the Iran Deal.' Yep. None of these are small. You know, I've got maybe ten minutes. I think we can get that done in the first term. And they did," Glenn said.

3. Give tax cuts to middle-class Americans

Maybe this could have been better, but we'll take it.

"I don't like the tax cut. I think he could go a lot further," Glenn said. "But that's not even his job. His job is to sign things that Congress puts in front of him. Not to design it. You Republicans in Congress, you disgust me. You disgust me. 'Imagine what we could do if we had the House and the Senate and the White House.' I can imagine what you'll do — nothing. You'll do nothing."

2. Change strategy and defeat ISIS

The mainstream media have been radio silent on this.

"How about the president's — well, I know I can defeat ISIS. I know I can do it. I'll defeat ISIS. He did," Glenn said. "And did you notice no one in the press even talked about it? All of a sudden, we're not talking about ISIS anymore. How come? Oh, I know. President Trump. That's why."

1. Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy

This one is a true game-changer.

"Now, every president will say to you, when he's running, 'I'm going to make Jerusalem the home.' Well, really? The home of the embassy. Really, are you? Because everybody says that, nobody does it. He did it," Glenn said. "And I think that's going to go down as the biggest game-changer possibly in my lifetime. This is going — it already is — it is changing the game in Iran."

Glenn continued.

"And when it does, this president is going to come out and say something directly to those people, that we support them," he said. "And that's going to add fuel to the fire. And you might see a regime change and a collapse of the Islamic regime in Iran. And it will be 100 percent Donald Trump that made that responsible. One hundred percent. You're going to see changes because of this. He kept that promise. A promise I said, he's not going to do that. Nobody is going to do that. He did."

One chapter of ISIS has ended, but another may be starting

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

For the most part, ISIS has fallen in Syria and Iraq. But before we celebrate the demise of this awful terrorist group, before we let our guard down, we should zoom out a bit, because ISIS is spreading. ISIS has largely just scattered out of the region as if someone turned on the kitchen lights and they scrambled.

RELATED: It IS About Islam: This Is a War Against Evil

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang University in Singapore. “Although Islamic State's ideology has suffered, it still has a huge potential," he told them. “Islamic State has entered a phase of global expansion, very much the same way al Qaeda extended globally in late 2001."

ISIS has spread into West Africa, and throughout much of Southeast Asia, and, as is typical of ISIS, they have done it violently, with a sick venom.

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

Again, from the Wall Street Journal: “One chapter of ISIS has finished and another is beginning," said Hassan Hassan, a specialist on Islamic State at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington. “Their resurgence is coming sooner than expected."

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

'The Handmaid's Tale' got it right, just with the wrong religion

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Just in case The Handmaid's Tale's heavy-handed message wasn't already heavy-handed enough, a recent episode made it clear there's always room for further hysteria. Particularly, in relation to depictions of a “patriarchal society" run by Christian doctrine and determined by men — oh those dastardly men.

RELATED: Christian privilege is the new white privilege

The show appropriates Margaret Atwood of the same name, depicting a totalitarian society led by Christian doctrine in which women's bodies are controlled, and they have no rights. The story sounds familiar, but not in the same way Atwood and the show's creators have so smugly assumed.

Just as tone-deaf as 4th wave feminism itself, and tone-deaf in all the exact same places. Most notably, the show's heavy-handed indignation toward Christianity. Toward the patriarchy. Toward conservatives and traditional values. And just like 4th wave feminism, the show completely overlooks the irony at play. Because there is a part of the world where women and children are being raped and mutilated. In fact, in this very real place, the women or girls are often imprisoned, even executed, for being raped, and they are mutilated in unspeakable ways.

Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life.

There is a place, a very real place, where women are forced to cover their entire bodies with giant tarp-like blankets, which is all the more brutal given the endless heat of this place. There is a place where women literally have one-third of the rights of men, a place where women are legally, socially and culturally worth less than men.

They cannot drive cars. They cannot be outside alone. They cannot divorce, they cannot even choose who they marry and often, they are forcibly married at a young age.

They are raped. A lot. Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life. This is the life of tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of women. And, I'll tell you, their religion isn't Christianity.