Poll
Should we as Americans be guaranteed freedom "from" religion?
Federally 8
By State 1
at work 0
no 0
Total Votes: 9
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realist
Posted: 21 September 2011 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello,

I am a 45 yr old woman who just doesn’t buy it anymore.  I haven’t for at least 10 years or so.  It took some courage to finally just say it, “I don’t believe in God”.  After the first time, the words just fell out of my mouth, but only in certain circles, family, friends, etc., never at work, not here in IN.  The fact that I feel an unwritten rule at work, leaves me feeling less than free.  This is the prejudice that no one cares about, no one talks about, no one fights for, the freedom “from” religion.  It’s forced upon us in schools, work, and government.  Where’s my group of like minded people?  I think about it all the time.  Everytime someone says, “I’ll pray for you” or “pray for the baby”....... or my favorite, “it’s blessing from God”.  Really, if the good fortune was a blessing, was it punishment when the baby died of some dreadful illness?  I just don’t believe in magic of any sort. 

These are today’s two cents.

I am greatful to have been invited to this site.

Thank you,

Tina

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Posted: 21 September 2011 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome to the CFI Forum, Tina, glad you found us.

As to the question you ask, I’m inclined to say that this is a country where people should be free to practice their religion as they see fit, so long as it doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights. This is included in the First Amendment. (“Congress shall make no law ... prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]”). I don’t think it infringes on my rights to have someone say something religious to me, which I may well disagree with. Down that road, where do we stop? Should someone be free to tell me that they think GW Bush was a great President? I don’t agree with that, either, but I think someone should be allowed to say it. Further, many Christians believe that atheist speech is blasphemous and given this sort of law would likely push to have blasphemy disallowed.

The only time religious speech should be disallowed is when it’s by an organ of the government in his or her official capacity. (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”). That said, even here opinions on the First Amendment will differ. It’s been determined that religious speech in government owned schools is disallowed, since it amounts to a form of proselytization and therefore is akin to “making a law respecting an establishment of religion”, while having the President or another government official say a prayer before a speech or some piece of official business has not generally been so determined. While I may disagree with that, it’s a matter for the courts to decide.

But in general I don’t think we can be guaranteed freedom from things with which we disagree. Inevitably we live in a pluralistic society in which everyone should have the freedom to express what they want. Sure, there will be some boundaries placed on that (such as yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater), but those boundaries should be as infrequent as possible. Free speech is a very important right, and one which should not be discarded lightly, particularly not if it’s simply to avoid hearing things with which we might disagree. That way lies political and social censorship.

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Posted: 21 September 2011 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome, Tina!

I’m not sure how to vote because I’m not sure what is meant by freedom from religion. I certainly agree with the jist of what you say. I too am fed up with how religion (Christianity, actually) has become the default position in this country. I get annoyed at those very things you mention.

I believe that the non-religious are already protected by law as much as members of any religion. The problem is not in the law; it’s in society, and it varies a lot depending on where you live. For folks like you and I, living the Bible Belt, it can be very hard being non-religious. I just don’t think it’s anything that can or should be remiedied by law, except of course, for aggressively pushing our governments to enforce the laws already in place which were designed to protect people of all faiths—including no faith at all.

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Free in Kentucky
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“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.”—Edith Sitwell

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Posted: 21 September 2011 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Welcome, Tina.  I voted for the first, although I’d just as soon vote for each of the first three.  I interpreted the question as meaning freedom from having religion imposed on me, not on blocking others from their (often silly) beliefs. 

Occam

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Posted: 24 September 2011 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I voted for first option, but I’ll throw in a bit of a caveat to go along with it.

I’m for supporting one’s right to believe or to disbelieve as their conscience dictates on matters of faith and with that, the obligation to respect the right of others to do the same.

What I’m against is the idea that those who do not accept a particular creed must grin and bear it when somebody elses is being inflicted on them.

Freedom OF religion must by extension also mean freedom FROM it, or it’s not freedom at all.

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Posted: 03 October 2011 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I don’t think we can be guaranteed from religion Federally due to the constitution, but I think we can by state

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“I am neither a Christian, nor an atheist, I’m not Jewish or Muslim … my religion is written on a piece of parchment called the Constitution”

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Posted: 03 October 2011 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Since the question is “should,” I answered Federally only because there is no Universally choice.  smile

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Posted: 03 October 2011 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Welcome Tina.  Glad to have you here.  I think one should freedom OF religion and freedom FROM religion at any level- Federal, State, and at work.  The fact is, no one can have freedom OF religion without freedom FROM religion.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 03 October 2011 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Very nice way of looking at it, Mriana.  I had always gritted my teeth and said that if one claimed non-religion wasn’t included in the Consititution that we could define atheism, agnosticism, and non-belief as religions.

Occam

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Posted: 03 October 2011 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks, Occam.  It is the only thing that makes sense in order to have such a freedom.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 15 October 2011 01:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Welcome smile

I too am concerned about freedom from religion.

Here in Toronto, we recently had a protest outside an elementary school - because the school decided to allow muslim students to pray in school during normal hours, instead of having them leave during the day to attend the mosque off school grounds. For 2 hours during lunch - the cafeteria was closed off to all other non-muslim students so there could be prayers. First of all, religion, ANY religion should not be permitted in schools. In this case - because they let one group of students practice their religion at school - students of other faiths immediately called it out as showing favoritism, and then of course the parents showed up and last I heard someone was assaulted. Not only does this alienate other students, it will probably result in bullying, or teasing. Schools have been working just fine without any prayer time, faith clubs, or divine intervention. Any personal choices to devote oneself to any faith or religion should be practiced in ones private personal time.

I also read an article just before the election -  about the head of the roman catholic society telling Steven Harper (who is a Roman Catholic and church goer) that refusing to open up debate on our current abortion policies (it is legal in Canada) might cost him the votes of Roman Catholics.  He has publicly stated that during his time as prime minister - the policy with never be called upon for debate, and that current legislation will stay where it is. First of all, If he did bend to their whim - he would be setting back decades worth of progress for womens rights. Second, I think its disgusting that a group of supposed “good godly people” would even try a tactic like that.

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Posted: 15 October 2011 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I agree, Missmac.  I don’t know the law in Canada, but in the U.S. it seems to be widespread in among the religious that the separation of church and state goes only one way.  They want no control over them but they are constantly trying to control the government. 

Occam

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Posted: 18 October 2011 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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missmac - 15 October 2011 01:26 AM

Welcome smile

I too am concerned about freedom from religion.

Here in Toronto, we recently had a protest outside an elementary school - because the school decided to allow muslim students to pray in school during normal hours, instead of having them leave during the day to attend the mosque off school grounds. For 2 hours during lunch - the cafeteria was closed off to all other non-muslim students so there could be prayers. First of all, religion, ANY religion should not be permitted in schools. In this case - because they let one group of students practice their religion at school - students of other faiths immediately called it out as showing favoritism, and then of course the parents showed up and last I heard someone was assaulted. Not only does this alienate other students, it will probably result in bullying, or teasing. Schools have been working just fine without any prayer time, faith clubs, or divine intervention. Any personal choices to devote oneself to any faith or religion should be practiced in ones private personal time.

Seriously, does this happens really in Canada…Oh Canada..:( downer

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