Religious freedom … now there’s a term that has almost unlimited definitions. My own, and one that I believe is in synch with that of the Founding Fathers back in 1787, is that each person has the freedom to believe in and practice his/her religion without interference from the government. But today, there are those who define it as having the freedom to declare that their beliefs are the only correct ones and that every person should be forced to follow their religion and believe as they do. Well, that ain’t how it works, and if you study history, you will see that this line of thinking has led to many of the wars that have been fought throughout past centuries.
The United States is a secular nation. This means that government and laws are not based on any religion and do not favour any one religion over others. Many today seem to want to call this a “Christian nation”, but that is so wrong it makes my teeth hurt. This is not a Christian nation, for we have a most diverse population that includes Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Jains, atheists, agnostics, and more. Each person, regardless of religious beliefs, has the exact same rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution.
Religious freedom means the right to practice and believe any or no religion. It does NOT mean one religion has the right to impose their views on others. Period. Every religion on earth has its biases, and in the U.S. those biases have led to discrimination against others such as the LGBT community and women. Today, there is a bill working its way through Congress called the Do No Harm Act. Our friend Nan has written an excellent post about this bill, so rather than re-invent the wheel, I will let her tell you about it … thank you, Nan!
This bill, if passed, would not take away anyone’s rights to observe their religion as they wish, but rather it would restore the civil rights of all, would make it illegal to discriminate based on religious beliefs. It’s really so simple.