This week at PRIED we started a new unit of civics; Religion. I find religion a fascinating topic, and I’m so proud that the U.S. is a country of which everyone is free to practice whatever religion they choose or no religion at all. I know that it is such a privilege to have this right. This choice. I am so glad that we can be equals and yet choose to be different. We aren’t forced to follow a practice we don’t believe in, and we are allowed to share our beliefs without being judged or punished. During this unit, we will be given a religion to research and then create a presentation to share with the class explaining its differences and similarities to other religions, where it is currently practiced, where it originated and so much more. So as an introduction to this project we did an activity about our rights to religion in this country. We looked closer at the details of our rights, and then we were given some scenarios to see how these rights might be applied. We had to decide as a group whether each scenario followed the Constitution or not. We had a few disagreements about this, and I think this helped us to realize why so many people have struggled with these issues and why religion is such a hard thing to deal with in legal situations. I think there are certain things we still haven’t come to an agreement on, but it also helped us realize how important it is to have freedom of religion since many of the situations we looked at exampled outrageous amounts of unfairness to one religion over another. I don’t know that any of us could imagine being forced to practice a religion we don’t understand or be punished and possibly killed if we did not follow orders. I personally loved this exercise and generally love exercises like this because it challenges you to think deeper about our rights as citizens and some of the imperfections of even our amazing country, The United States of America. It also forces you to imagine what it would have been like if we grew up somewhere else or if our founding fathers hadn’t done such a good job because we could be living in a very different world if they weren’t who they were and they didn’t found America the way they did. In the next few weeks we will be working hard on our research about a religion of our choice and present it to our class. I’m very excited to make a creative project and learn about new religions!