Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thoughts on the So-Called "Freedom From Religion"

Amendment I
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.

The freedom of religion is normally understood to be an important part of American life. It's enshrined in the Constitution as something the government cannot infringe on.  The government can't tell me I must belong to a state approved religion. Nor can it tell me that I cannot belong to the Catholic faith... which is certainly a change from pre 19th century England, pre Constitution America or modern China or Vietnam.

In America,  such a right meant that I was free to live my life as a member of the Catholic Church, supporting and opposing laws and politicians, running my business in accordance with my beliefs. In doing so, I do not force Catholicism on others. I do my best to convince others of the truth, but I do not coerce people to do what they believe to be evil.

Unfortunately, we seem to have had a total breakdown on the concept of religious freedom. Politicians who act in accordance with their religious beliefs, laws passed by a majority of citizens who believe certain behavior cannot be sanctioned by civilized society are attacked by a vocal minority that has the support of the political, cultural and media elites. This elite has the opinion that the freedom of religion means the freedom from religion, and that is a gross perversion. It is imposing beliefs the Christian not only disagrees with, but also believes is evil to do.

The reason this is an imposition is because of this difference: The freedom OF religion means I may live all aspects of my life in accordance with what God demands of me, including my right to vote. The freedom FROM religion claims that a person has the right not to see religious activity in public... or to be affected by laws or behavior that people with religious motivations follow.

The results of such behavior is that when a majority of a state pass a law which defends the long held understanding that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman, a judge can take this distortion called "freedom from religion" and declare such laws violate the "separation of Church and state."  Why? Because the motivation is alleged to be solely based on religion and because of the establishment clause, as misinterpreted by judges, laws passed are ruled "violation" of Church and State.

But that's nonsense. The establishment of religion clause means that nobody can be forced to belong to a religion against their will. But when Christians, Jews and Muslims vote in favor of a law defending the common understanding of marriage, nobody is forced to be a Christian,  Muslim or Jew. Rather, it means Christians, Muslims and Jews agree that in light of distortion, the definition of marriage needs to be made clear in law.  THAT'S the free exercise of religious freedom.

On the other hand, judges who rule that homosexual relationships can be marriages and that Christians must treat them as such or face charges on violating "civil rights," that's interference with religious freedom to live as God calls us to live... which forbids us to assist the sin of another.

Likewise the contraception mandate. The Catholic believes that artificial contraception is a sin. To require the Catholic to participate in assisting another's sin by paying for contraception via health insurance for his employees is interference with a person's right to live according to God's commands.

The response from the "freedom from religion" mindset is that an employee shouldn't have to give up her right to contraception (begging the question) just because she works for a religious employer.

But that argument shows the unjustness of "freedom from religion."  The woman's constitutional rights are not violated by having to pay for her own contraception.   But the Catholic employer is having his constitutional rights violated by being forced to provide such contraception --as condemned by his religion-- or face fines of $100 per employee per day.

Once upon a time, people would realize the injustice of these incidents of judicial activism.  But today? Now believers are portrayed as bigots simply because they defend their rights as believers.

This injustice will continue until such a time that people recognize that the "freedom from religion" is a counterfeit right that violates true rights

No comments:

Post a Comment