Most normal American’s do not despise any person because of any religious belief. We do detest any group that uses violence to force their religion on others. Each person can decide for themselves what they believe in or not. Americans have labeled many groups that use their beliefs for the use of violence. Some of these groups are the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi and White supremacy groups, Phineas Priesthood, Jewish Defense League, Army of God and many more. Notice most are using some religious pretext as a reason to use violent behavior upon others as their right from their beliefs.
What we do despise is any group using violence to force their belief on others. Americans did not start out really with an open mind as many believe. The Pilgrims’ came to the Americas to have their religious freedoms but was not tolerant of any other beliefs.
Governor Peter Stuyvesant banned the rights of Quakers to assemble and worship in 1657. Then on 27 December 1657, thirty townspeople of Flushing NY, signed the Flushing Remonstrance protesting this ban in the fight for religious freedom in colonial America.
Now in this new America, pre Constitution, were religious freedoms the norm? No, there were instances where Catholics and Jews were killed for their beliefs. They were forbidden to live in many communities. Most communities and states attempted to enforce strict religious observance. Laws mandated that everyone attend a house of worship and pay taxes that funded the salaries of ministers. Eight of the thirteen British colonies had official, or “established,” churches, and in those colonies dissenters who sought to practice or proselytize a different version of Christianity or a non-Christian faith were sometimes persecuted. Virginia imposed laws obliging all to attend Anglican public worship. Indeed, to any eighteenth century observer, the “legal and social dominance of the Church of England was unmistakable.”After 1750, as Baptist ranks swelled in that colony, the colonial Anglican elite responded to their presence with force. Baptist preachers were frequently arrested. Mobs physically attacked members of the sect, breaking up prayer meetings and sometimes beating participants.
So the norm in many States and communities was not for liberty and freedom but control and forced behavior. The “Bill of Rights” in order to prevent misconception or abuse of its powers had to limit the government from becoming an oppressor and autocracy over the people. The very first Amendment: “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.”
American’s evolved to become accepting of others and their beliefs as long as it was not forced on them. Most normal American’s do not hate any religious belief. Americans do hate radical groups that decide that their rights supersede the rights of others. No group has the inherent right to force another to believe any religious concept or allegiance.
Americans do need to learn what any religion is about before jumping to conclusions and take the false perceptions being promoted by mass media. Fanatic extremists are not the true representation for any religious group but they do get the media attention and a misleading branding. Education of the world will open the eyes of non followers, followers as well as the ignorant.