Religious Liberty

I recently came across an article entitled, “The Continued Threat to Religious Liberty is Undeniable.”

It was difficult for me to read because the writer seemed to overlook the fact that “religious liberty” is not limited to a particular faith. In fact, as I was reading the article, I was reminded of the slogan on the Gadsden Flag — “Don’t Tread On Me.”

Let me explain.

The phrase was originally on a Revolutionary War flag and was intended as an historic expression of American patriotism. Over time, however, the words became associated with a more general expression of personal freedom and individualism. Unfortunately, in the 2000s, the phrase became associated with a variety of libertarian, conservative, gun-rights, and far-right political groups as a way to express their beliefs.

Nonetheless, for me, the phrase clearly means … Don’t trample on my personal freedoms and I won’t trample on yours.

Back to the article — it’s apparent the writer supports his version of “religious liberty” because he cited the couple who was asked to bake a custom wedding cake and refused because it violated their faith. He also mentioned the instance of a coach who was fired for kneeling in silent prayer at midfield after a high school football game. Further, he praised certain judges who were willing to reconsider the Free Exercise Clause* (which he indicated has been dormant for decades).

He was also quite excited that Justices Bret Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch were confirmed, along with the confirmations of several (Trump-appointed) federal judges to the District and Circuit Courts of Appeal since, in his opinion, this indicated a “renewed respect for the text and original intent of the Constitution” and promised more protection of “religious liberty.”

There’s little doubt that one person’s definition of religious liberty is not always the same as another. For example, an individual left this comment (which I agree with) related to the article:

Religious liberty is the freedom to believe in anything you like, or to believe in nothing at all. But it certainly does not carry with it the right to force others to live by those beliefs.

Even so, we continue to see those on the religious front trying to hijack the phrase “religious freedom” and assign to it a meaning that supports their viewpoint.

Sidenote: While searching for a picture to accompany this story, I typed in the word “religion.” The extensive choice of images confirmed that the word is not confined to one particular faith. And, IMO, this is something that many who advocate”religious liberty” often overlook.

*The FreeExerciseClause of the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees the right to hold religious beliefs and engage in religious practices that are part of a person’s religious beliefs. (See for a more detailed discussion.)

22 thoughts on “Religious Liberty

  1. For certain people and groups in both the USA and Canada (and probably most caucasian-based countries in the world) religion means christianity, and the christian god. For them all other religions and gods are false, so they DO NOT COUNT. Religion is only what they want it to be.
    Allowing other religions, or no religion, is therefore an assault on them as a group and as individuals. It frightens them because it challenges their belief that theirs is the only “TRUE” option. Thus they think they are at war. They cannot see that no one is at war with them, others just want to be left alone to believe as they want. Christians, maybe not all but a huge part of them, are scared of anyone who has different beliefs or no beliefs. If “others” are allowed to exist, it detracts from their Truth.
    That cannot be allowed.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Like I always tell my conservative Christian pals, America will not be free, religiously speaking, until Islam becomes the law of the land! Can’t see any other way to free America from the clutches of atheists and those who believe in fake/false gods, i.e. Christians. $Amen$

    Liked by 3 people

      • I sure hope so. Christians in America have been trampling on my rights as a Muslim for decades. They are favored and get ALL the attention and ALL the help of the government. It is offensive to me, a devout worshiper of the One True God, Allah. America will never be free until Islam becomes the rule of the land and Christians stop flaunting their false faith in my face. Allahu Akbar

        Liked by 1 person

  3. If you believe in a particular set of stuff, you have to believe that it’s real, or it will evaporate in the mists and you’ll be left with nothing to believe in. That is some scary stuff, for Christians. They’ve been so conditioned to use God as a prop, that if you remove that prop, they’re sure they’ll disappear.
    Basically that’s what a religion has become: not a place to worship a god (although when I think about it, that’s bloody bizarre in any case) but a place to be supported by him. Or it. Or them.

    It’s like being part of a soccer team. No matter how good or bad the team is, if you want to be part of that particular team, you have to believe what they do, and play the way they play. And you simply have no room to support another team (belief) as being possibly equal, probably different-but-okay.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hello Judy. Great point. The church is not so much something you deeply believe in as much as it is your social circle and community club. You have to go along with the bylaws and guidelines in order to use the facilities with your friends and stay in the communal group. Living in a mobile home community with a clubhouse and facilities, along with different clubs and social groups, I can totally relate to that. Hugs


  4. Nan, that comment from the post and article you quoted is not only Constitutionally spot on, but also represents the/our core Founding Fathers intended design and function of our nation’s laws and rights for its citizens as spelled out in our DoI, Federalist Papers, Bill of Rights, Constitution, and Amendments. They are (should be) further protected by several landmark Supreme Court decisions in the past. Essentially our core Founding Fathers designed and implemented a NEUTRAL or Secular federal government, with individual states having more leniency for its popular “faiths.”

    Egregiously, these once firm definitions, applications, flexible state frameworks, and SCOTUS decisions have been challenged, threatened, and even overturned/changed by modern Conservative, religious fanaticals and their (wealthy, powerful) organization’s legal teams. In light of these “legal” battles and incessant wrongful use of our Constitution and SCOTUS rulings of the past—some going both ways—WHY THEN have Native American lands, monuments, and religious rituals rarely received the SAME EQUAL precedence!? This double-standard, the hypocrisy of the hard Right and ultra-religious of this nation infuriates me on these pro-Christian battles and court cases.

    Perhaps we non-religious Americans need to seriously consider defining or redefining our “beliefs” (science? factual data?) as a “religion” as well, one just as equal to the 60+ different forms (denominations) of Christianity! Do you think that would work Nan?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Christians are not trying to “force” anything on anyone. That is backward. There is a post on here dedicated to erasing all other beliefs and it’s not from a Christian. The assault is on Christians beliefs and values. As Christians, we are called to serve God and present his word. People must choose (on their own) whether or not to believe.


    • No. I do not “assault” Christians or their beliefs or their values on this blog. I do, however, occasionally express my displeasure related to Christians who try to thrust their beliefs on others.

      One thing that many Christians seem to overlook is that religious liberty is not confined to Christian beliefs. In fact, it means ALL religious faiths should have the liberty to express themselves. It also means that those without religious faith are free to live according to their own personal standards.

      Final point: The meaning of “liberty” in his simplest terms is freedom of choice.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Dennis Stanley. As an openly gay man in a same sex marriage I have to let you know a lot of people calling themselves Christian have fought my right to even exist for as long as I have been alive. Yes I was born homosexual despite their denials of that. They have pushed for everything from imprisonment to quarantining people like me who have committed no crime but violate their religious doctrines. I served my country proudly in two branches of the military but had to do so without being open to my sexual attractions while watching those straight people around me brag daily about theirs, all due to the push from religious organizations to keep me out of the military. Most of those advocating for that never served. While doing everything they could to besmirch people like me they tried to curtail my rights to live equally in our society, while taking tax free status to try to direct our government. I am in the 29th year of a long term loving same sex relationship, something a lot of people can not claim. I was only able to get married and enjoy the over 1100 legal benefits of that union since 2015. Something fought desperately against by religious organizations that claimed I had no rights to the federal and state benefits of a society I pay taxes too and am a member of , but their religion doesn’t like. Separation of church and state anyone? To this day these religious organizations try to chip away at my marriage rights, yet have no concern over children in cages dying on the southern US border. I find their priorities suspect. Last let me say no one is limiting a person’s religious belief and couldn’t if tired as it is in your thoughts, but that belief doesn’t give any religious person the right to force others to live by their churches doctrines. If you choose a job serving the public, you serve the entire public. If your religious faith won’t allow you to do so treating all of the public fairly, keep your religion but change jobs. It is not for everyone else to change to suit you. I often say if you think these religious freedom exception make sense change the word from what you claim you need to be exempt from to Black, Christian, or Jewish. Does it still seem right? I reserve the right not to serve blacks, Christians, Jewish people due to my religious beliefs. Does it still sound like the right thing to enshrine in our laws? Hugs

          Liked by 2 people

  6. I fully understand and support people’s right to religious belief. I don’t even know what most people believe unless they tell me in some way (say it, display it, wear it, demonstrate it). As a high school teacher taught me many years ago, that right ends where my nose begins. Pray if you want, just don’t block the emergency exit while your doing it. Lastly, since ‘don’t tread on me’ was hijacked, I prefer this one: ‘no gods, no masters.’

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Even so, we continue to see those on the religious front trying to hijack the phrase “religious freedom” and assign to it a meaning that supports their viewpoint.”

    I see that happen often from the non-religious front as well.

    I respect your freedom to your beliefs, and I hope that you do the same for me. I have been told at times that I am forcing my beliefs on someone just because I talk to them about Jesus.

    If conversation and adhering to the tenets I believe are important is “oppression”, then I would have to equate the same standards to this blog.

    Nowhere in the article that you linked did I find anything offensive to other or non-religious beliefs. People should be able to speak freely, fly their flags, and live at peace with their neighbors.


    • Thanks for your input, Corey.

      I’d like to point out something to you about this post. It is not about believers OR non-believers. It’s about the principle of religious liberty, as defined so succinctly by the person’s comment that I mentioned in the post: Religious liberty is the freedom to believe in anything you like, or to believe in nothing at all.

      Yet the individual who wrote the article mentioned two or three incidents that he felt were clearly strikes against
      Christianity. Further, he seemed pleased that two of the recent appointees to the Supreme Court are supportive of
      Christian beliefs and standards.

      Clearly his interpretation of “religious liberty” leans towards a particular faith. And this is what I find disturbing.

      BTW, I concur with your last sentence.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Yes Corey, the religious freedom crowd want to be able to spout their venom all over social media and in public and without any restriction. The maniacs here are lobbying the government in Australia for this to become law. I think it is to late for being able to speak freely in public about such beliefs. Society has become more adverse and with this comes animosity especially as religious beliefs are based primarily on emotions.

      This could mean the country is awash with religious rubbish and you have no control. I cannot see this coming into legislation, but it highlights how far they will go to save their sorry idealistic arses.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your beliefs whatever they are should not be used to influence decisions, cause arguments, make people feel inferior, to convert people, indoctrinate young children or cause riots and wars etc. It is not good for example to go on social media and condemn homo sexual people to hell and spout your doctrine on marriage and abortion, or even claim your god is real and all the others are not real unless it is on a forum for this type of stuff to be aired.

    It is also not good to praise your god for saving your property and life from a disaster on social media when many other people lost everything, and some died, same goes for so called medical miracles that are attributed to a god but in reality instigated by medical people, and scientific biological events.

    Regardless of what the theists gods tell them about evangelising the fallen sinners and target the children, religion is often regarded as anti-scientific, immoral and a hindrance to our progress. It is also an affront to other religions, LGBTQ people, many women, unbelievers, agnostics and atheists etc. If religious people want to exist as part of the community they need to adapt to the morality of today, if they do not they will become rejected by society especially as various types of non-believers and atheists are growing in numbers.

    The crime of child indoctrination should be addressed, the tax issues should also be renewed in the near future or at least an investigation into the use of funds by some of these wealthy churches.

    Liked by 2 people

    • But didn’t your beliefs influence you to write this post?

      Also, if I have to adapt to the morality of today, which happens to change every day, aren’t I being forced to change my beliefs?


      • You are arguing a superfluous point, Corey. Once again … Religious liberty is the freedom to believe in anything you like, or to believe in nothing at all. Think about this for a minute — and try to go beyond your Christian nature.

        There is nothing in that statement that says you must “adapt to the morality of today.” In fact, the very meaning behind religious liberty is that you cannot be “forced” to do anything that goes against your religious beliefs.

        But the most important part about religious liberty is this — and it’s why I wrote this post — It Works Both Ways.

        Liked by 3 people

      • “But didn’t your beliefs influence you to write this post?”

        Well yes, in a way, but I wrote this comment more in the name of decency, morals and respect supported by just about every community in the developed world. that. Would you not agree that we should live with each other without causing undue antagonism and treat others as we all like to be treated?

        People who believe in alien abductions or even the flat Earthers, Pagans, witches and the Nessie believers do not make issues in public claiming how right they are and the rest of us is wrong, they do not indoctrinate children, evangelise in the streets and publicly condemn certain groups of people in our society.

        At the moment we also have the climate deniers and the anti-vaccination nuts causing aggravation because they are claiming they know more than the scientists, exactly like the creationists do.

        “Also, if I have to adapt to the morality of today, which happens to change every day, aren’t I being forced to change my beliefs?”

        Hell no, you just keep it to yourself or your group of believers. The way to know whether your belief is relevant and factual is to do the research and I mean the real scientific research and the historic realities of the issue, don’t listen to Trump, the Pope, the local priest or your favourite actor. Science changes and adapts to the latest research like it always has done, however history tells us that modern science does not get anything completely wrong.

        Having said all that, it is good to air your thoughts if they are on the correct forums and if people put up public sites to be commented on. It is not good to go into the street to preach an ideology, do mass media posts and claim vaccinations produce autism or claim that God or will descend on the Earth and destroy atheists and homosexuals. It is not good to claim rubbish, we get enough of that from politicians. If I get sent a flyer from the local church in the letterbox as what often happens, I was obviously a target of theirs and are spreading rubbish throughout the neighbourhood, so I respond and target them by rubbishing their most deluded claims.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you very much for this informative and insightful article! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and hearing your thoughts! I have recently published an article on my blog about the nature of religious freedom and whether religious people should be entitled to speak freely in all situations. If you have time it would be great if you could read my article as I would be interested to hear your thoughts! Thanks 🙂


    • Hello Simeon! I’m pleased that you enjoyed my post. 🙂

      Unfortunately, I was unable to access your website using Chrome — my primary browser. I temporarily switched to Internet Explorer and strangely enough, was able to access your blog. I will read your post later today and share my thoughts.

      P.S. I sent you an email regarding this issue.


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