Friday, June 19, 2015

About Religious Freedom....

Christian conservatives and fundamentalists are having a very difficult time with the concept of religious freedom. It's understandable that this is difficult for them. The very idea of freedom of thought concerning religion goes against their religious beliefs. Across the Christian spectrum there are varying degrees of piety but the basis of institutional Christian teaching is focused on a one way prescription. So, depending upon how strongly you embrace the "one way" narrative, it's difficult to see religious freedom as a good thing. In fact, it's downright frightening.
Christianity is based on a heaven/hell ending and a specified salvation to avoid the fire of hell. Therefore, it's extremely dangerous to have any humans operating outside that belief system. Embracing the idea of freedom of religion - freedom of religious thought - poses a danger to Christianity. Demonic forces are lurking and poised to steal souls, causing many Christians to fear other religious thought.
As keepers of the one path teachings, Christians feel a responsibility to help others find this one and only path to salvation. If others do not accept it willingly, many Christians feel it is their duty to force the issue through whatever means necessary.
We're seeing this play out in many "Religious Freedom" bills passed in state legislatures. If we paraphrase the meaning of these laws - from contraception to marriage equality - it goes something like this;
"If you will not follow my religious beliefs, I have the right to rebuke you and deny your access to things based on my religious beliefs."
The end result they are hoping for is to limit religious freedom outside of their specific Christian belief. This is how the Talaban operates - under a different religious flag. Sadly, they are opening the door for society to be dominated by whatever religious belief is the majority. And conservative, fundamentalist Christian belief is no longer the majority in this country. It's loosing ground fast. The stage is set for religious war in the United States. We've avoided that for several centuries by keeping a certain degree of separation of church and state. We cannot allow religion to be an acceptable excuse to limit another person's civil liberties. To do so, is the opposite of religious freedom. It is the creation of a religious state.
Have we learned nothing from conflicts in the Middle East? Mixing religion and government is a very dangerous thing. Civil society's have a strong belief in freedom for all.
Flip some of the outcomes a bit. What if you went to a business seeking a cake that said "God Bless You" and the owner said they could not sell you the cake because it should say "Jehovah" or "Ali" or because they don't believe in God at all. Or you go into a restaurant wearing your cross necklace and they refuse to serve you because they don't like Christians. Or maybe the magistrate refuses to perform your marriage because he is not a Christian and does not want to support Christian marriage.
If you value your religious freedom, protect religious freedom AND civil liberty. It means accepting that others may not believe the same as you. Think carefully about where you want the line of respect to fall. If it's too far from the middle, it could flip on you. "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you."

No comments:

Post a Comment