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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'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.

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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.

Science did it again. It only took 270 million years, but this week, scientists finally solved the mystery that has kept the world up at night. We finally know where octopuses come from: outer space. That explains why they look like the aliens in just about every alien movie ever made.

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It turns out octopuses were aliens that evolved on another planet. Scientists haven't determined which one yet, but they've definitely narrowed it down to one of the planets in one of the galaxies. Hundreds of millions of years ago (give or take a hundred), these evolved octopus aliens arrived on Earth in the form of cryopreserved eggs. Now, this part is just speculation, but it's possible their alien planet was on the verge of destruction, so Mom and Dad Octopus self-sacrificially placed Junior in one of these cryopreserved eggs and blasted him off the planet to save their kind.

This alien-octopus research, co-authored by a group of 33 scientists, was published in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal. I'm sure you keep that on your nightstand like I do.

Anyway, these scientists say octopuses evolved very rapidly over 270 million years. Which sounds slow, but in evolutionary terms, 270 million years is like light speed. And the only explanation for their breakneck evolution is that they're aliens. The report says, “The genome of the Octopus shows a staggering level of complexity with 33,000 protein-coding genes — more than is present in Homo sapiens."

Lucky for us, they landed in the water. Otherwise, we might be octopus pets.

They mention that the octopus' large brain, sophisticated nervous system, camera-like eyes, flexible bodies and ability to change color and shape all point to its alien nature. Octopuses developed those capabilities rather suddenly in evolution, whereas we're still trying to figure out the TV remote.

These biological enhancements are so far ahead of regular evolution that the octopuses must have either time-traveled from the future, or “more realistically" according to scientists, crash-landed on earth in those cryopreserved egg thingies. The report says the eggs arrived here in “icy bolides." I had to look up what a “bolide" is, and turns out it's a fancy word for a meteor.

So, to recap: a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, an alien race of octopuses packed their sperm-bank samples in some meteors and shot them toward Earth. Lucky for us, they landed in the water. Otherwise, we might be octopus pets.

President Trump's approval rating is rising, and Democrats — hilariously — can't seem to figure out what's going on. A few months ago Democrats enjoyed a sixteen point lead over Republicans, but now — according to CNN's recent national survey — that lead is down to just THREE points. National data from Reuters shows it as being even worse.

The Democratic advantage moving towards the halfway mark into 2018 shows that Republicans are only ONE point behind. The president's public approval rating is rising, and Democrats are nervously looking at each other like… “umm guys, what are we doing wrong here?"

I'm going to give Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi a little hint. We know that the Left has enjoyed a “special relationship" with the media, but they might want to have a sit down with their propaganda machine. The mainstream media is completely out of control, and Americans are sick of it. We're DONE with the media.

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Look what has been going on just this week. The president called MS-13 gang members animals, but that's not the story the media jumped on. They thought it was more clickable to say that Trump was calling all immigrants animals instead. In the Middle East, the media rushed to vilify Israel instead of Hamas. They chose to defend a terror organization rather than one of our oldest allies.

Think about that. The media is so anti-Trump that they've chosen a violent street gang AND A GLOBAL TERROR ORGANIZATION as their torch-bearing heroes. Come on, Democrats. Are you seriously baffled why the American people are turning their backs on you?

Still not enough evidence? Here's the New York Times just yesterday. Charles Blow wrote a piece called "A Blue Wave of Moral Restoration" where he tried to make the case that the president and Republicans were the enemy, but — fear not — Democrat morality was here to save the day.

Here are some of these cases Blow tries to make for why Trump is unfit to be President:

No person who treats women the way Trump does and brags on tape about sexually assaulting them should be president.

Ok, fine. You can make that argument if you want to, but why weren't you making this same argument for Bill Clinton? Never mind, I actually know the reason. Because you were too busy trying to bury the Juanita Broaddrick story.

Let's move on:

No person who has demonstrated himself to be a pathological liar should be president.

Do the words, “You can keep your doctor" mean anything to the New York Times or Charles Blow? I might have saved the best for last:

No person enveloped by a cloud of corruption should be president.

I can only think of three words for a response to this: Hillary Frigging Clinton.

Try displaying a little consistency.

If the media really wants Donald Trump gone and the Democrats to take over, they might want to try displaying a little consistency. But hey, maybe that's just too much to ask.

How about starting with not glorifying terrorist organizations and murderous street gangs. Could we at least begin there?

If not… good luck in the midterms.

In the weeks following President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the mainstream media was quick to criticize the president's pro-Israel stance and make dire predictions of violent backlash in the Middle East. Fast forward to this week's opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the simultaneous Palestinian “protests" in Gaza.

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Predictably, the mainstream media chastised Israel for what they called “state-sanctioned terrorism" when the IDF stepped in to protect their country from so-called peaceful Palestinian protesters. Hamas leaders later admitted that at least 50 of the 62 Palestinians killed in the clashes were Hamas terrorists.

“In our post-modern media age, there is no truth and nobody even seems to be looking for it …. This is shamefully clear in the media especially this week with their coverage of the conflict between the border of Israel and the Gaza strip," said Glenn on today's show. He added, “The main media narrative this week is about how the IDF is just killing innocent protesters, while Hamas officials have confirmed on TV that 50 of the 62 people killed were working for Hamas."

The mainstream media views the Palestinians as the oppressed people who just want to share the land and peacefully coexist with the people of Israel. “They can't seem to comprehend that in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only one side is actively trying to destroy the other," surmised Glenn.

Watch the video above to hear Glenn debunk the “peaceful Palestinian protest" fallacy.