The Freedom of Religion in the United States of America
The freedom of religion in the United States of America A. Powell Davies once said: “True religion, like our founding principles, requires that the rights of the disbeliever be equally acknowledged with those of the believer” (2012). Even though it was difficult at first to leave his home country to come to the United States, freedom of religion was the main reason to move to the U. S. ecause life was different in the Ukraine; it was hard to relate to a totally new environment, with a strange language and even stranger cultures and customs here in the United States.
In this interview the writer wants to talk with a coworker from the Ukraine, about his childhood memories from his home country. His name is Oleg Kypytko and he is a parishioner of the Orthodox Church in Portland/ Oregon. He immigrated about twenty years ago to the United States and now lives in Washington State.
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The reasons he and his family moved to the United States was for religious reasons.
It was difficult to learn a new language and make enough money to provide for his family. It was a total different life in the Ukraine, there was no freedom of religion and not many other freedoms. There always was a sense of being watched, because of his faith. Mr. Kypytko is from a different culture, than this writer. Most German citizens are stereotyping the people from the Ukraine as Russians. The questions for Mr. Kypytko are how far back he can remember maybe as far back as childhood even. Did he can remember the experience of a subgroup member back in the Soviet- union and the treatment of the people?
How did it feel at first in the United States of America, and living in freedom to pursue his own religion? How hard was it to learn a different language and a total different culture? There are many differences between his former life in the Soviet-union, and his life now in the United States. The country he grew up in was a total opposite of the United States and it took some time to get used to it. Those are the main questions of this paper and they will help to find out why Mr. Kypytko moved to the United States to start a new life for him and his family. It was interesting to find out he can remember this far back.
The first time he felt out of place in his home country of Ukraine. The Ukraine was a part of the Soviet-union, which was created after World War II. He can remember his grandfather was prosecuted, because he was a member of a church and believed in something different than the communist party. The courts send his grandfather to Siberia in a prison camp for believing there is a greater power than man. The prison camp changed his grandfather. His parents did not go to church so often after that ordeal they started reading the bible in their house.
Only at the major holidays they would visit a church, always afraid to get prosecuted. At this time the KGB was tracking the growing influences of the Orthodox Church” (Zhuk, S. I, 2008). The family was changing the way they were handling their religious life. Mr. Oleg Kypytko always felt out of place, because in his life outside the house he had to demonize their religion. The Soviet-union did not like religious people while the Russian government was going back with their relationship with the church till 1750 (Anonymous, 2007). The polite bureau thought those people are a treat to their way of live.
At first church goers were tolerated, than seen as a treat. The KGB arrested young people for trading crosses and icons at local farmer markets” (Zhuk, S. I. , 2008). As they were considered a treat, the treatment against the religious people changed. Most parishioners of the Orthodox Church in his home town were treated as outcasts. He got drafted for the Soviet Army and had to denounce his religion in order to fulfill his duty to the country. Mr. Kypytko always said I have no religion in order to avoid punishment in the Military. He remembers this as one of the longest time in his life, always being quite about his faith. He had to join the Army or stand to his faith and go to jail.
The area he grew up in was a small town, everyone knew their next door neighbors. ” It was not always this way long time ago the Orthodox Church was always present while the tsar was ruling the Russian government. The Orthodox church wanted to convert all non-Orthodox” (Romaniello, M. P. , 2007). ” The consumption of religious cultural products among the youth of Dnepropetrovsk was particularly worrisome for Soviet ideologists and the KGB because the city had special strategic importance for the entire Soviet regime, because it was the site of the biggest missile factory in the Soviet Union” (Zhuk, S.I. , 2008).
Most of his neighbors belong to the communist party and he always had a feeling someone is watching. After his military service he moved back to his hometown. Things did not change for him, he tries everything to fit in, but he felt like he lived on a different planet. ” It is well known that democracies do not take an approach to matter of religion and education and reject the communist approach of one comprehensive secular ideology and outlawing religious visions” (Glanzer, P. L. , & Petrenko, K. , 2007).
He was reaching out to an Orthodox church in the United States of America, because it got so bad for him to live under those conditions. The Orthodox Church in Portland Oregon United States was sponsoring him and his young family. Mr. Kypytko found this church, because some of his relatives were immigrate to the United States and parishioner of this church. It took years for him to finally move to the States. While he and his family waited to move to the United States of America he had the feeling of being watched. He moved to the U. S. and everything his family owned would fit in a suit case.
The first months in the United States were so different than back in his home Country of the Ukraine. Mr. Kypytko was at first so home sick and he wanted to move his family back to the Ukraine, but then his wife talked to him about the bad feeling against religious people in their home country. They decide to try and live and worship in the United States of America. He only spoke broken English, and most of the time he related on the other members of his new church to help him out. Here he could practice his faith without being in fear of prosecuting.
He made it to the United States of America, but now he had to provide for his family. At first he needed to learn the English language, which was not easy for him. He grew up in a communist system and now he had to change so he could put food on the table. The communist government was totally different than the government in the United States of America. The Orthodox Church in Portland gave him his start, but he did not have it easy to fulfill his American dream. The first employment he had was making just minimum wages, and not having much worldly procession.
Most of their possession was donated from the parishioner of the church in Portland Oregon. It took him many years to learn the language and buy a house for him and his family. He was working in different jobs and always tries to make ends meet. He sometimes had to hold two jobs to provide for his family, his youngest daughter was born in this Country. In the Ukraine the people are now aloud to worship in the church. ” In the history of religion in Orthodox countries share similarities to other democracies by Catholicism, but later diverged at important points “(Glanzer, P.
L. , & Petrenko, K. , 2007). It would not be wise for Mr. Kypytko going back to his home country, because his children do not speak his native language. His children are used to their lifestyle in the United States of America. It would be hard for them to adjust to the life in the Ukraine, his oldest daughter was a baby the time they immigrated the U. S. A. ” In the 1990 the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the government of the Russian Federation a stable relationship was beginning to arise” (Basil, J. D. , 2007).
The people of the Ukraine are now can practice their faith without being afraid of the government. Mr. Kypytko still has contact with his family in his home country, he was thinking about moving back home. The main reason Mr. Kypytko moved his family to the United States was to practice his faith. He never thought it would so hard to succeed, and the problems this brought onto him. He felt as an outcast in his home country, but for the first few years he felt the same way in the United States of America. The only bright spot in his new life was he could go to church and practice his religion.
According to Jandt, F. the United States of America among the world’s industrialized nations is the most religious (2010). This is a reason so many people are coming to the United States to pursue their freedom of religion. Even now he will not talk about religion at work, because he still believes it is not good to speak to other people about religion. At first he did not wanted to talk about his life, this writer believes he thought this would bring to much attention to him. At his place of work there is more former citizen from the Ukraine and some are members of his church.
He will have a conversation with Russian speaking people so if there is any talk about the religion non- Russian will not know. The immigrants from Russian and the Ukraine are able to peruse their freedom to practice their religion, but in the process they give up their former life. The main question for Oleg Kypytko is it worth all he and his family were enduring all this time. He has a satellite dish so he can watch television from his home country. Mr. Kypytko is changed, he and his family are used to the life in the United States of America, he can say what he thinks and the government will not punish him.
Some of the Church members are going back to visit the home country and will buy movies there, and those movies will go from one parishioner to another till every member of the church watch them. They are what he called too much Americanism, and would not fit in his home country. His children never went back to their country of origin. His daughters are not fluently speaking his language so they would be not able to find good employment. The children of the family grew up in the United States, his oldest daughter was born in the Ukraine, but she will tell you she feels like an American girl.
She has no desire to live in the Ukraine. The younger daughter not even wants to visit his home country, she tells her father they did not wanted us why do I want to go there. He is always thinking about his home country and the way life changed for its citizen. They now have religion involving into the education system and they are having now the freedom of religion in his home country. ”The 1990 Soviet law granted religious toleration to all faiths, the opposite from the decade-long oppressive practice of the Communist regime. This was brought on by the collapse of the USSR” (Basil, J. D. , 2007).
If he would know this would happen in his home country he maybe not immigrated to the United States of America. There is nobody in this world that can predict the future. Mr. Kypytko does not know what the future holds for him and his family, but he will tell you his faith will help him through everything. In moments like this he says he knows why he came to the United States of America, he does not to be in fear of the government change the policy again. He is happy to live in a country free of fear and he still remembers back the problems he had as a child, because his family want to pursue their religion.