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Fri Feb 6, 2015, 12:50 PM

"Religious Freedom" what it IS and what it ISN'T

"Religious Freedom" is the right for YOU to practice the religion of your choice, that's it.

"Religious Freedom" does NOT give you the right to tell other how they should live or practice their religion.

"Religious Freedom" does NOT allow you to ignore the laws of physics, chemistry, biology and/or Government with impunity.

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply "Religious Freedom" what it IS and what it ISN'T (Original post)
Viva_Daddy Feb 2015 OP
on point Feb 2015 #1
guillaumeb Feb 2015 #2
cbayer Feb 2015 #9
guillaumeb Feb 2015 #19
cbayer Feb 2015 #20
guillaumeb Feb 2015 #22
cbayer Feb 2015 #23
Igel Feb 2015 #3
longship Feb 2015 #4
cbayer Feb 2015 #7
longship Feb 2015 #10
cbayer Feb 2015 #11
longship Feb 2015 #12
cbayer Feb 2015 #13
longship Feb 2015 #14
cbayer Feb 2015 #8
struggle4progress Feb 2015 #5
cbayer Feb 2015 #6
pinto Feb 2015 #16
cbayer Feb 2015 #17
pinto Feb 2015 #18
cbayer Feb 2015 #21
pinto Feb 2015 #15

Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 12:59 PM

1. Perfect description. Thanks

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 01:12 PM

2. great job!

3 fantastic sentences that should be required talking points for every candidate for political office in this country. These should be the automatic responses whenever any politician is asked to comment on religion.

I would only add that on number 1, "to privately practice the religion..." would be my preference. Religious practices should never be part of a public occasion. THAT is what the Founders meant by "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Again, great post.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 11:31 AM

9. Are you suggesting that religious people should keep it in the closet?

Would you prohibit them from wearing things that are symbols of their religion? Would you object to them taking breaks at work to pray at certain times?

Would you object to public events which include a variety of religious aspects, including some that express the position of those who are not religious?

I think there is a lot of room between not establishing a religion and forbidding people from openly practicing it.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 04:19 PM

19. no I am not, but, speaking as a person of faith,

there is a difference between practicing/believing in a particular philosophy and insisting that every public occasion must include a reference to religion. My beliefs regarding religion/philosophy are my own. I hope that they influence my actions, but I do not have to let anyone know what my beliefs are. My actions should show what type of person I am.

I am a Quebecker by birth who lives in Illinois, an area that prior to 1760 was part of Quebec. (I joke with my family that I live in the warm part of Quebec.) In Quebec, as in France, there is a strong form of secularism that we call laiicite. Any intermixing of the state and religion is discouraged by custom and law in some instances. While I agree with laiicite in principle I feel that prohibiting people from wearing religious clothing goes beyond what is required of the concept. I feel that allowing people to pray or observe religious custom is reasonable, but where to draw the line on reasonable accommodation is where we arrive at the problem.

Public events should be open to all without being devoted to any religious aspect so as to not make non-believers uncomfortable.

As to open practice of religion , if you refer to practicing in a public place, let me pose a question:
If I believe in live animal sacrifice should I be allowed to sacrifice a live animal in a town meeting? Extreme case, possibly, but where does society draw the line?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 05:42 PM

20. I agree. Clearly drawn lines need to be in place.

I think your position is the position held by many. The problem, as you know, is that those that want to impose their beliefs on every one else have been very active and very vocal. But I am with you, it's the actions that matter.

I only recently learned about lalicite. It was introduced to me in an article about the Charlie Hebdo incident. I also agree in principle, but have been concerned that it seems to be imposed primarily in relation to non-christians in both France and Canada.

As I said elsewhere in this thread, I would lean towards inclusion whenever possible as opposed to eliminating religious expression entirely. That is not always possible, and I agree that the line is crossed when others are made to feel uncomfortable.

Your example of making an animal sacrifice is a good one, and it is why I objected to the over-simplification in the OP. It sounds nice, but there are so many grey areas that must be evaluated on an individual basis. As you noted, the level of discomfort may have to be assessed. In the animal sacrifice example, actual harm would also have to be taken into consideration.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 07:07 PM

22. LAIICITE

The concept has its roots in the French Revolution, which was a revolt against the Catholic Church as well as the monarchy. The same revolt against the influence of the Catholic Church and religion in general became a political issue in Quebec during our so-called Quiet revolution of the 1960s.

I agree that recent expressions of laiicite in France and Quebec have been primarily aimed against Muslims. The various forms of veiling by observant Muslim women have inspired many politicians and citizens in both places to speak out about this non-traditional (by western standards) dress. On a personal note, I was schooled in Catholic schools where the Sisters all wore 15th century style robes. Not a lot of difference there!

Charlie Hebdo in the past has targeted the Pope, Jesus, the Jews of course, as well as politicians from all parties, but seems to have concentrated most on Muslims. The targeting of Muslims by Charlie Hebdo plays well with the fascist hatred that Marine and Jean LePen often speak when talking about Muslims. The Front National rhetoric about Muslim dress and religion not being in keeping with "the essential nature of the Republic" is often used by both. Code words for "Muslims are not and cannot be really French".

Similarly, Charlie Hebdo had a cartoon depicting pregnant, veiled black women with the headline "touchez pas a nos allocs" which translates as "do not touch our welfare". Gallic humor or Ronald Reagan style racism?

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #22)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 07:14 PM

23. Thanks so much for the information.

This is something I have been generally uneducated on.

The nun's garb is a great example. That's just fine, but add a veil over the face and all hell breaks loose.

One of the theories about the Charlie Hebdo incident was that extremists had the intent of further marginalizing muslims in a country in which they did not feel particularly welcome to begin with. This would result in an increase pool to recruit from. The Front National appears to have been more than willing to play right along.

While I don't think the Hebdo cartoonists were intentionally racist, I think they were used by racists to further their own cause.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Fri Feb 6, 2015, 07:57 PM

3. What about aspects of my religion that dictate how I act and behave.

Which impact others.

I try to minimize that. I don't compel others to abide by my beliefs. But if they need me to do something that violates my beliefs to be able to enjoy their freedoms, then, no. Their beliefs don't supersede mine.

I typically draw the line at coercing actions. If my refusal to do something makes it impossible for somebody else to do what they want, oh, well. I will not compel them to do what I want. They're free to find other arrangements.

But if their doing what they want requires that I do something I find wrong, *that's* compulsion and letting their (voluntary) activities supersede things I consider obligatory.

Take a camp out, for instance. I was put in the position of cooking dinner. I refused to prepare pork. I reduced my fellow campers' range of actions by my refusal to comply with their plans. Their choices were to eat what I would prepare or to find somebody else to cook their dinner. At another meal when they had prepared pork, I didn't compel them to prepare food especially for me.

There are DUers who would find my actions limiting and a violation of another's religious liberty, but have no problem with the idea that if I'm supposed to prepare dinner I have no say over my own actions or conscious. My religious rights stop at my own body; but their secular rights are to dictate to me. Sometimes they couch it in terms of majority rights--which only work when they're in the majority, then minority rights rule. They're blind hypocrites and deserve no further attention.

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Response to Igel (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 9, 2015, 09:26 PM

4. As long as you keep it to yourself, I have no problem.

I don't give a fuck what others believe as long as they keep it to themselves.

As others here have wisely wrote, that's what the First Amendment religious clauses are all about. The extent to which people do not understand this very simple fact is the extent to which religion is overstepping the bounds expressed in that amendment.

And any argument that this is a Christian country is pure, unadulterated rubbish.

But I still do not give a fuck what other people believe, or not believe. It is how they act that makes a difference.

My best regards.

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Response to longship (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 11:25 AM

7. But the person you are responding to is describing situations when he

does not keep it to themselves and it does impact on other people. Does he not have the right to practice his religion even if it effects others, as long as it does not harm them? I think he does.

FWIW, I don't think he would take the position that this is a christian nation. His diet would lead one to believe he is either Jewish or Muslim.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 12:34 PM

10. I understand the point.

I would not expect pork at a Hebrew or Islamic prepared meal. Nor would I object. Just like I would not expect beef at a Hindu meal.

Again, I would not inflict my lack of belief on anybody, as long as they did not inflict theirs on me.

But, of course, I would honor dietary rules if I were invited to dine. And I have done so, usually amongst the best meals ever.

I absolutely do not see individual dietary choices as anything other than what they are, whether religiously based or otherwise, a personal choice. And only a complete jerk would ask for a hamburger in a vegan or Hindu household.

Respect is what it is all about, whether one is a believer or otherwise. (Something we all need to understand.)


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Response to longship (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 12:49 PM

11. Yes, respect is what it is about.

I have a good friend who keeps kosher. I have learned a great deal from him and I respect his beliefs in this area, even though they do not make sense to me personally.

I have also had friends who wore burkas and turbans, who would never work from sundown friday to sundown saturday and those that prayed at what I thought were very inconvenient times. Some I know are deeply offended by profanity, others by drunkenness.

Even when their beliefs inconvenienced me, I was not harmed by them and I respected their rights.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 01:03 PM

12. Harm is the measure.

And other people's beliefs generally do not harm me, or anybody. But the extent that a person attempts to use their fervent beliefs to impose them on others (through politics or otherwise), I draw the line. There is the harm.

Generally, I prefer tolerance, but I will defend my atheistic position when it challenged. Hopefully politely.

Where I lose my patience is when people act like jerks, whether they believe or otherwise. There is no room for such a thing when rational discourse is called for. E.G., here.

My best.

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Response to longship (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 01:12 PM

13. Agree, harm is the measure, though it is not always that clear.

Then there is the separation issue. While a Ten Commandments statue in the courthouse may not inflict direct harm, the harm is in the potential for irrevocably damaging the wall between church and state.

Discourse here has really improved lately. There seem to be some new people coming in who are interested in having snark free discussions, even when their views are not shared by others. As someone recently said, "The absence of noise is not the absence of discussion."

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Response to cbayer (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 01:26 PM

14. Amen, my good friend.

"The absence of noise is not the absence of discussion."


Plus, a lot of noise is mostly meaningless. And personal attacks have no place in any rational discussion. They are the end of rational discussion.

Keep cool down there in Mexico, my good buddy. Thankfully heating oil here is really cheap this season and although the winter is cold, there is little snow here in the national forests of west Michigan. Life is grand.

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Response to Igel (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 11:28 AM

8. I think your points are really worth noting.

Freedom of religion does allow one to practice their religion. I would draw that line at harming others, not at inconveniencing them.

No pork for supper? So what.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 12:16 AM

5. But free speech confers the right to say many kinds of things to people, whether or not they like it

Terminiello v. Chicago
337 U.S. 1
Argued February 1, 1949
Decided May 16, 1949

MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS delivered the opinion of the Court ... a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea ...

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 10:21 AM

6. I think that's a good start, but it gets more complicated at the edges,

as at least one post in this thread outlines.

There is freedom of religion and freedom from religion, but sometimes one treads on the other.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 02:34 PM

16. There are some public displays of religion on public property that I view as benign.

All are transitory though. I've lived in 3 regions that had, individually - religious blessings of the fleet in New England, a parade featuring statues of three Sicilian patron saints held in Massachusetts and a parade through town here in California honoring a patron saint prominent among local Portuguese.

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Response to pinto (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 02:40 PM

17. They recently had the blessing of the fleet here, and it was wonderful.

Mexico's public spaces are crammed full of religion. Every tiny town has a saint and every saint has a holiday that generally goes on for a week. The last town we spent time in is called La Cruz and there is a large cross in the middle of the biggest intersection. The posadas at christmas time are magical.

I experience these as more cultural than religious and clearly Mexican law does not have the separation clause that the US has. It would be impossible to avoid religion here.

It's sometimes hard to know where to draw the line, particularly when it comes to culturally based rituals and symbols.

I lean towards making things more inclusive as opposed to trying to eliminate all religion from the public sphere.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 03:15 PM

18. I tend toward benign inclusion, if that makes sense. And oppose any imposition. A line of sorts.

The separation clause here is best supported by challenging egregious violations from the get go. Legally, constitutionally and publicly. And then go from there.

It gets vaguer, imo, in cultural terms. Yet, I think if we hold a bright line on legal and constitutional grounds there's room for the rest.

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Response to pinto (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 05:57 PM

21. I like the concept of benign inclusion.

To the extent that everyone can be included without causing harm, they should be.

I think the FFRF is doing a great job tackling the more obvious violations. In doing this, I think they prevent further incursions.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Original post)

Tue Feb 10, 2015, 02:15 PM

15. +1. Agree, though your third point is somewhat vague, to me. I assume you mean teaching creationism,

countering evolutionary theory in educational curricula, etc., etc. I think individuals can ignore those on a personal basis but should not impose that "ignorance" on others - especially in education as we are seeing happening more often. Or proposing that religion is an essential basis for a government. That is anathema to a pluralistic society. Those that advocate that are well aware of the intent, imo. All the more so to push back, which is also happening.

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