To the Editor,

So we pray. Or not.

How we pray or practice our religions will usually be how we determine that. Not by any social coercion or government mandate but by how each of us, individually or as a part of an organized church, fill that need in a manner that is both fulfilling and sensible to us. Something we decide for ourselves. Of greater importance is how we illustrate what is good about our religions, what others will notice about our interaction in the context of what appeals to them within the realm of human decency. It is what we portray, not say. And it not for any one of us to decide what is correct for anyone but ourselves. Therein lies the freedom of religion as guaranteed by the First amendment. And that shall not be infringed as much as many among us wish to do just that

A facebook page of a local eatery contained a false post about Muslims praying in Getzendaner park and how the police closed the park so they could do so. It contained a fabrication of how the park namesake's relatives were wanting to have the family's name removed because of the alleged incident. Everything about the story was false and most likely planted by out of state religious bigots. Except some comments left from local residents who were outraged not by the praying but by the religion of those praying.

A recent letter to a local paper outlining things that we do in America stated we have different Christian churches but one God. As if America only contains one religion.

Still a local publisher offered his vision that America can only be saved by adherence to one religion while vilifying those they determined were not of that vision.

Our Governor signed a bill into law that no government entity can prevent any business from discriminating against anything they deem incompatible with the business's religious views.

Each was correct in their religious freedom to say or do what they believe.

But the reality is if we have religious freedom for one, it must be there for any religion. And in America, in Texas and yes, in Waxahachie we have many different religions being practiced everyday. Or even not practiced or recognized by those who have the freedom to do so, if they wish. These are good, moral, religiously sound people who contribute positively to our community by bringing the goodness of their religion into what makes Waxahachie so great. Where our different religions have created a wonderful asset for our town, not a hindrance. A place where we can practice our religion openly without being seen as a threat to anyone else's. It is our respect for the diversity, for the understanding and recognition that does indeed illustrates what the freedom of religion truly means.

We should cherish it. It is something we cannot condition. For it is a basic right of this country. A cornerstone on which all religions can build upon to achieve their true destiny. And where each of us, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, Agnostic, Buddhist or whatever, can practice as they wish. And to have that same freedom as anyone else. These are my townsfolk, my neighbors and I am so glad they live here. In freedom.

Tis America. Namaste.

Alan Fox, Waxahachie