Religious Freedom is an oft-sited right in the United States, and for good reason. To deny another person reasonable provisions to adhere to their own religious beliefs is to deny them the right to follow the dictates of their conscience. This presents a moral hazard, whereby people are given an enormous incentive to turn their thinking over to the crowd. Despite this, genuine conflicts do exist, and they need to be recognised for what they are.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Last year, Indiana passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This was, in part, a reaction to an earlier fiasco where a Christian-owned bakery refused to service a gay wedding. The stated intention of this bill was to preserve the rights of individuals in adhering to their religious obligations.
The conventional Left chose to disagree with the stated intentions. From the national backlash against this bill, it became apparent that folks are unwilling to accept that this was about religious freedom.
“Bigotry, cloaked as religious protection” was a phrase used by LGBT activist and actor, George Takei. The message appeared to be “they may say they are trying to protect religious liberties, but what they really want is to use religion as an excuse to express their deeply felt homophobia.”
Being Honest About Religious Freedom
This is a problem I see with most people on the Left. They refuse to own up to reality. The reality in this case is that it is impossible to guarantee complete religious freedom whilst simultaneously seeking to purge all forms of discrimination. By claiming that those who drafted the bill were lying about their intentions, the Left is spared the difficult task of claiming “our needs are more important than yours.”
We must choose between permitting discrimination and denying a party the free exercise of religion. That is the crux of the matter.
This is a problem that occurs frequently in other-directed societies. Everyone is attempting to save face and as such they refuse to admit to the genuine conflict that exists. People want to simultaneously be seen as preserving religious freedom and opposing discrimination. This is not possible.
I see two reasonable courses of action to take regarding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. First, you can declare yourself an open enemy to Christianity. Second, you can read the bill and decide that it does not make provisions for any serious forms of discrimination. For myself, I am sympathetic to both of these courses. In my opinion, Liberals blew a minor issue out of proportion. Nevertheless, real evil does exist.
Religious Freedom as Used by Cults
In the Western States of the United States are isolated towns, inhabited primarily by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. This is a splinter sect of Mormonism that, to this day, still practices the polygamy that was put aside years ago by the mainstream Mormons.
Being isolated from the rest of society, members of this church are heavily indoctrinated and subject to multiple forms of abuse. Members are led to believe that their status in the afterlife depends on their loyalty to the cult and their adherence to its polygamous practices. Submission to forced marriage and child labour is compulsory. There are also the predictable logistical problems that, ostensibly, have been dealt with by excommunicating young men in order to curb the demand on the limited number of women. These individuals are excommunicated whilst being led to believe that this guaranteed their damnation.
Most shocking is that a former leader of this group is currently serving life in prison on two counts of sexual assault on a child. He was accused of much more than two, but those were the charges used.
Do you like our work? Want to write for us? Get in touch right here »
Common sense would dictate that this group should be banned, the towns in which it operated raided and the members given an immense regimen of deprogramming. Despite this, the State has limited power to intervene. Why? Religious freedom.
Making Religious Freedom Obsolete
The true challenge is getting honest. We cannot afford to get sentimental. Religious freedom is guaranteed to come up against some other pressing matter at some time or another. As long as there is a plurality of religions, conflict will be inevitable. Our reverence for religious freedom has forced us to avoid honesty. On the one hand, we have liberals denying that they are infringing on religious freedom when they clearly are. On the other hand, we have society refusing to address a serious issue on the grounds of religious freedom.
The only way to remove this conflict is to get to a place where religious freedom becomes an entirely irrelevant issue. The only way to get there is to eliminate the current plurality of Judeo-Christian religions. These all-or-nothing sects are impossible to appease when addressed as a plurality. The pluralistic society is a comforting myth. We cannot afford to live and let live.
For this reason, it is valid to say that individuals do not have a right to their own opinions. Perhaps they have a legal right, but that is entirely provisional. Individually, they have an obligation to seek the truth.
If the only religions in this world were Rational Religions, this would not be a problem. Anything that is consistent with reason is entirely consistent with everything else that is consistent with reason. In addition, when properly understood, reason allows for no apostasy. Therefore, a Rational Religion is allowed consistent and permanent growth barring the death of its adherents.
So, study the God Series. Study mathematics. Go so far as to do problem sets. If the information spreads and is properly understood, religious freedom may become an obsolete term soon enough.
Jason Calhoughny writing for the Apollo Institute of Reason AIR Review©