Folks on the right wing are constantly bringing up the concept of “religious freedom” to justify their anti-democratic agenda, when what they are actually espousing is the freedom for them to impose their religious ideas on others. That is not freedom; it is theocracy, a form of government that the founding fathers purposely sought to avoid for good reason.

True religious freedom allows freedom to choose one’s own spiritual path without self-righteous bigots trying to impose their will and their practices on people who may not share them. This is explicitly enshrined in our First Amendment. And it also permits atheism as an acceptable alternative.

The only thing that is unacceptable is when religion is used as a bludgeon to harrass or to harm “outsiders,” and yet this is precisely what those “religious freedom” crusaders are doing. (e.g. the Westboro Baptist “Church”)

Our society has been enhanced by allowing the inclusion of myriad ideas, faiths and ethnicities. Our scientific and educational systems have led the world for many years because of our willingness to listen to other perspectives. We are now losing ground on the international front precisely because closed minds are trying to restrict access to science (e.g. vaccine resistance) and education (e.g. banning books) while supporting idiotic conspiracy theories.

The major tenets of most religions — love, care for others, tolerance, brotherhood, equality — are so often ignored by “adherents” of those religions that religion itself gets a bad name. The days of religious wars are not yet behind us.

Note that the “one true faith” in which one believes depends mostly on the faith of one’s (fallible) parents. With some 5,000 faiths in this world, it is the height of hubris to assume that yours is the “best.” A little more humility and tolerance of others would do us all a world of good.

Douglas McGaw

Emporia

(10) comments

Elrod

Wow AEE I feel so sorry for you. You blame men for wanting to stop abortions when there are millions of women who are against abortions and believe it is wrong to kill innocent heart beating babies. I just feel sorry for you.

Dilly919

Keep the faith, Elrod. Expat is trying to bait with ugly talk of parasites. As it says, just shake the dust off your feet and move on.

Elrod

919

Elrod

Thank you Dilly 999. It is heartwarming to hear that story. There are so many stories like that out there that I’ve heard from people. There is always hope that there are more stories like that then ones that end up in tragedy with an aborted baby. Thanks again for Raising my spirits.

Dilly919

Keep the faith, Elrod!

Dilly919

I’ve been a Christian since 1967 and I’ve never hectored or badgered anyone or told them how to live. I’ve told them about Jesus and that’s the the thing that gets non believers riled up. It’s been that way since Jesus’ time. When the early Church started telling people about what Jesus’ resurrection meant those listening, usually angrily, they made note that these people had been seen with Jesus. That rankled them no end and usually got the Christians stoned or whacked around or thrown in jail.

That doesn’t happen very often in our culture. Christians (I’m not thinking of Westboro or other aberrant forms) just get shunned or mocked or “cancelled.” For me, I don’t spend my time asking people if they’re gay, straight, adulterers, swindlers, thieves, pornographers as I make my way around the city. I may not attend their parties or agree with their lifestyle choices. The only place my faith intersects with them is when the opportunity comes to tell them about Jesus and the meaning of his life, execution/death and resurrection. I have never forced my religion on anyone. Never! They are free moral agents and are free to accept or reject the message and its implications.

There are some issues where faith and citizenship intersect. Abortion is one of them. Until Roe v Wade it was considered the taking of a human life. Roe changed the law, but it did not change the moral unacceptability of abortion. Like many Christians, I have protested against abortion under the assumption I was within my tights to do so. When I did I always carried a sign that read “Abortion stops s beating heart.” I believe that’s a scientifically valid

statement. Interestingly enough, that sign irritated some folks enough that I was the one who got whacked around. I never responded and learned yo develop a thick skin. The issue has only gotten deeply personal for me only once. I had a professional peer who announced to our work group that she and her husband were expecting their first child. They were excited, especially since they were both close to forty years old. Then, at a subsequent meeting, she said she was considering an abortion based on some preliminary medical reports. I cared enough about her to plead have the child and there was a problem like Downs my wife and I would take care of the child for her. She got very upset with me. Fortunately, the child was born healthy. About a year after he was born she brought her husband and son to a group meeting in Memphis. She brought them to dinner one night. She was holding her son, whose name was Gabriel, He was beautiful. At some point I asked her if I could hold him. As I held him I began to tear up. She asked me if I was okay and I said I was. I told her it was obvious she loved him very much. I then got even more personal. I asked her if she would love him any less if he had a disability. We both began to cry because we both knew the answer.

Years later, after I’d moved to another division, she called me. Gabriel was doing well and all in all her life was good, with one complication. She’d developed Multiple Sclerosis. I told her I’d be praying for her and she thanked me. She added something very special. She reminded me of how I’d pleaded with her before Gabriel was born and now saw clearly, with her now being the one with a disability, that she would not only have her husband to support her, but also Gabriel, even if he were to have been born disabled.

Not once in all those years did I ever jam my religion down her throat. I’d told her about Jesus and pleaded for the life of her son.

The Christians I know are like this (Elrod).We don’t jam our religion down people’s throats. We do the things we do because we care. We love people and We tell them that Jesus loves them more than we do. Beyond that, we let people we interact with accept or reject us or the things we believe.

That may bother Mr. Mr. McGaw or you, Aim High. All I can say is that, in dome small way, I helped a woman I cared preserve the life of her son. I’m happy with that, so is the woman. And, do you know who else is happy with how the story turned out? Jesus! That’s who.

Elrod

I suppose that’s how people like you would interpret religion. Speaking out there believes is there right, just like it is yours. I see nothing wrong with voicing there opinion that abortions are terminating a heart beating human life. Anyone who doesn’t think that’s a living person can’t possibly be trusted to make decisions that effect human lives. There cannot be any effective argument that the baby isn’t a human until it’s born.

Elrod

Lumping all religions with Westborough Baptist church is about as ignorant as this article that you wrote. There are fringes of religions that are not good at all but most aren’t that way. You are obviously someone who just wants to bring down religion in this country.

Aim_High

He didn't lump all religions with WBC, he lumped religions that use their religious freedom to "harrass or to harm outsiders” with the WBC. And he's right. Religion should never be used as a weapon to try and force someone else to abide by your religion. If you're religion says being gay is bad, then don't be gay. But don't go stand on a corner yelling God hates f***... keep your religion to yourself.

Ana Kasparian, (who is a far left progressive host on The Young Turks) says it best.

" I don’t care if you’re Christian. In fact, I will fight for you to have your religious liberty and practice your Christianity. I believe in that. I don’t believe in Christianity, which means that you do not get to dictate the way I live my life based on your religion. I don’t care what the Bible says. You have every right in the world; all those women who identify with your religion have every right in the world to not get an abortion, to not take birth control. But they do not have the right to dictate MY life and what I decide to do with MY body. I don’t care about your godd**n religion. I’m so tired of having non-stop conversations about what the Bible says. You live your life in the way that you interpret the Bible. Again, I don’t care. But you don’t get to take the Bible and tell me well the Bible says this in this chapter in this verse. I don’t care. -Ana Kasparian

Nobody wants to bring down religion, they just want you to leave them alone about YOUR religion. When you try to use YOUR religion to tell me how to live MY life, you end up looking like the Westboro Baptist Church.

An Expatriate Emporian

I donno, there's little use for Christianity as an organized religion - it creates more suffering and strife than it has ever done for good. Granted people take to it because it gives them a sense of structure and community, but they also use it as a frame of difference from others. I don't hate christians, I just feel bad for them - they have a founding fellow who said be nice to each other, and love thy neighbors, but then that's been taken to be judge thy neighbors unless they're just like you.

Abortion controls are in place for the subjugation of women, and nothing more. Men telling women what they can or cannot do with their bodies. It took until '74 before women could even get credit cards in their own names if married - and a parasitic symbiote is not a human life.

How you can tell when religion is always amiss is that you don't need to teach a child how to love, but you do have to teach them how to hate and to judge others - that's what your church does for a community.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.