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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The NEW Religious Freedom

Category: Religion
Posted: 07/06/14 22:17

by Dave Mindeman

It is difficult to understand the SCOTUS reasoning on religious freedom. The concept used to mean that each individual could practice their personal faith in whatever way they saw fit.... without interference from others and without being encumbered by the state.

However, the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court have put together a much broader interpretation that allows an entity (because person does not define it enough) to impose their own religious beliefs on others and is leaning toward the imposition of Christianity as a virtual national religion.

One of the crucial problems in all of this is the idea that a corporation is a person. Corporations can't actually have a religious faith because they are a legal construct - yet the SCOTUS Five not only allows the owners of these corporations (as legal representatives apparently) to transpose their own individual faith into the legal quagmire... they then impose their religious ideas on the employees of the corporation.

Somebody's freedom has been violated here, because you cannot have it both ways with the same protections. In this case, religious "freedom" trumps right to privacy.

George Takei, former Star Trek actor and now gay rights activist, posed an important question. What if a corporate owner was Muslim and wanted to impose Sharia Law on the employees of the corporation? Do you not think that there would be a public outcry of epic proportions?

But that is where we are going.... of course, unless Christianity is going to be enshrined as our new state religion.....which no longer seems out of the question, because interpretation of the Freedom of Religion clause always seems to favor Christian dogma.

The SCOTUS Five are now acting like law makers - not interpreters. They are breaking precedent or manufacturing precedent to suit their political world view. And that world view dates back to the mid-20th century and sometimes further back than that.

Our nation was founded by people who wished to escape religious oppression. To get away from imposed dogma and practice their religion as their own spiritual journey led them. They fled the Church of England and found a new world free of rules, regulations, and old ideas. That is what America was meant to be.

But with the recent rulings, it is clear that a few individuals can now impose their beliefs and rules on a large number of other people. They can impose without suggestion. They can restrict without having to ask. They make rules without majority opinion.

They can operate a business in America and exempt themselves from adhering to the broader freedoms that should be available to all of us.

Pandora's box is open and who knows where it will lead.
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Why Don't We Have Prayer In Public Schools? Its Guys Like This

Category: Religion
Posted: 05/12/14 13:50

by Dave Mindeman

I always get into trouble in regards to separation of church and state. I know a lot of people who are offended by the idea that prayers are prohibited in schools. They arrogantly state that "its not freedom FROM religion, its freedom OF religion".

Well, recently, the Supreme Court upheld the right of legislative bodies to have a prayer to open their meetings. OK, fine - but then you find the heart of the problem with this guy....

"The freedom of religion doesn't mean that every religion has to be heard," said Al Bedrosian, who sits on the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors. "If we allow everything, where do you draw the line?"

"The real battle is keeping the name of Jesus as Lord," Bedrosian wrote in 2007. "The name Jesus is what makes us a Christian people and a Christian nation. This is why we must continue our heritage as a Christian nation and remove all other gods."

That's what Bedrosian intends to do in his position as county supervisor, saying he would reject any request by any non-Christian adherent to deliver a religious or secular invocation.

"I would say no," Bedrosian said. "That does not infringe on their freedom of religion. The truth is you're trying to infringe on my right, because I don't believe that."

I don't have a problem with prayer in public schools - if you are willing to also allow Muslims to pray, Jews to pray, and Buddhists to meditate.

The key to this is that these are public schools - open to everyone. And the same rights apply to all as well.

If you insist on the idea of prayer in school, then there are plenty of private schools that can accommodate that - but that also means you will have to pay for that individual privilege.

The main reason that public prayer is prohibited in public schools is that there are too many Al Bedrosians out there.
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How Secure Are You In Your Religious Beliefs?

Category: Religion
Posted: 03/24/14 15:07, Edited: 03/25/14 13:56

by Dave Mindeman

I often find it amazing that fundamentalist Christians profess to be so sure about their faith - and yet are constantly threatened by everything around them....so much so that they feel the need to attack anything that does not agree 100% with what they profess.

How insecure are you in what you believe? Do you feel the need to object to a TV show (Cosmos) explaining the scientific principle of evolution? If you disagree with it and you feel confident in your disagreement, why should it matter? You don't see scientists objecting to the hours and hours of religious television on Sundays. They don't demand equal time. They and most everyone else is content with the marketplace of ideas. If Christians are confident in what they believe, then competing in that marketplace should be a privilege not a threat.

And why do conservative Christians believe that government health mandates is somehow a threat to their religious freedom? If you have a business that deals with the general populace, how can you expect your religious beliefs should somehow be imposed on everyone? No one is forcing YOU to take up contraception. No one is asking you to change your reproductive choices. But why do you feel it is your right to impose that belief on everyone else involved?

Religious beliefs are a deeply personal choice. For many people, those beliefs evolve (pardon the word choice) over time. But we still have to interact with society. Many Christians believe that how we personally live our life is an example to others - and maybe we can have an effect on other lives in that manner. But expecting to force others to adhere to our own personal beliefs by coercion is simply wrong - on all levels.

What I believe is my business. What you believe is your business. And we live in a country where personal beliefs really do matter. But we also live in a country that Constitutionally prevents religious imposition on everyone. That is a principle and too often, we have many people who believe religious freedom is the imposition of MY beliefs on YOU.

If you are secure about what you believe and you are comfortable that your beliefs comfort and protect you in your life, isn't that enough?
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