Religious Freedom vs Religious Liberty (Part 1 of 2)
“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.” And, “Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” (Thomas Jefferson)
“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion.” (John Adams)
“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity the less they are mixed together.” (James Madison)
“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions set up to terrify and enslave making, and monopolize power and profit.” (Thomas Paine)
This is as good a time as any to start differentiating between two things often mistaken as synonymous: religious freedom and the currently popular “religious liberty.” It’s more important than ever to make a distinction between the two terms because this is the cutting edge between those who knowingly misinterpret for political reasons what the founding fathers meant by religious freedom and those who don’t want it perverted as a tool of discrimination under the guise of “religious liberty.”
Religious freedom is the right to obtain freedom from religion versus the invented liberty to inflict a religion on our government. Sides have been chosen. It’s not a mere culture war — the religious right has declared civil war in America until such time as we are all under (their) god’s law instead of the rule of law (which they totally disregard). And, don’t forget these christianists are armed to the teeth, so proceed cautiously, but do proceed.
So-called religious liberty is the religious right’s rallying cry when attacking the provisions for religious freedom and the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution. Religious liberty has become their handy code for both ending the rule of law and the full flowering of (their) god’s law.
I’m beginning to wonder if everyone has forgotten that the original intent of providing for the religious freedom to every person was that every person was free to practice their religion whatever it may be, without government interference? And, just as important, the right to practice no religion, also without government interference? Both were to be equally protected, with the separation of church and state guaranteeing no religion, practice, or belief can be legally imposed on other people?
This is the time to stand up and say no more and, just a few days ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) finally changed its policy significantly by saying it no longer supports the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), or similar state level acts, in spite of the fact that it invoked the RTFA just recently in its claim that Sikh men have a right to serve in the military while retaining their faith-based beards. The 1993 RFRA came about because Congress was unhappy with a Supreme Court decision 20 years ago that restricted Native American’s use of peyote in their religious practice. It was introduced by two Democrats, in fact (Chuck Schumer and the late Ted Kennedy).
But the ACLU now agrees that RFRA’s purpose has been reconfigured and manipulated by the religious right, going from protecting all religious practices to licensing individuals and corporate religions to discriminate against other minorities.
“While the RFRA may serve as a shield to protect [religious practice] . . . it is now often used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people and others.” (from ACLU’s Louise Melling’s June 25 Op-Ed, Washington Post]
It is you and I, yes you, and all of the people who stay home on election day, or don’t show up in solidarity with related causes, who are allowing members of the religious right to become our lawmakers and judges, and we are therefore responsible for aiding and abetting “christian sharia” and for putting a stop to it once and for all.
Will you participate or stand by until there is nothing left of our democracy?
This is part of a continuing series on the corrupting influence of the religious right and how it has infiltrated our government and foreign government through organized, secretive dominionist cults. These posts over the last month are a combination of research, intuition, and personal experience, in other words, opinion-editorials for the purposes of education (Fair Use). While we do not deny or condemn any individual, group, church, or cult for their religious beliefs, we do demand that if they are in public service, they abide by our Constitution and all of its provisions. For more . . .
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