Religious freedom

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Crux of the matter
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An act of faith
This article is about the abuse of the concept of freedom of religion as a cover for intolerance. See Freedom of religion for the real thing.
It’s not freedom when you are advocating taking away the liberty and rights of other human beings. It is not religious, especially not “Christian,” to be intolerant and bigoted against your fellow citizens.
—Joan E. Dowlin[1]

Religious freedom was originally synonymous with freedom of religion, the basic right to choose which deity (if any) to worship. However, more recently, the phrase "religious freedom" and its variation "religious liberty" have been hijacked by the Religious Right and twisted from their original meaning into disingenuous code words referring to a self-drawn license to discriminate and control other people's lives in the name of one's own preferred ceiling cat.

As a synonym for "freedom of religion"[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Freedom of religion

As a political code-word[edit]

All of the Republican candidates for president talk endlessly about “religious freedom,” but as usual what they really mean is Christian privilege.
Ed Brayton[2]

The phrases "religious freedom" and "religious liberty" are often invoked, with the retention of the sense mentioned in the previous part of the article, as a euphemism for a mandate to control the lives of others and force them to adhere to the tenets of one's own religion. The use of the phrase is a manifestation of a persecution complex, and it allows the perpetrators and advocates of intolerance and oppression to portray themselves as victims whose basic rights are violated by any movement toward equal rights for other demographics, e.g. LGBTQ people being able to marry the person of their choice or being protected from workplace discrimination, women making their own decisions on abortion, transgender people living as their identified gender, couples using birth control, unmarried people having sex, or students not being forced to undergo intelligent design lessons or participate in school prayer. In short, this use of the phrase "religious freedom" is less about advancing true freedom of religion than about undermining this very principle as it pertains to others.

In 2016, the Chairman of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission wrote in a government report that "the phrases 'religious liberty' and 'religious freedom' will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance."[3][4] In 2017, the Trump administration designed a so-called "religious liberty" executive order which, sure enough, uses this concept as a cover for further entrenching Christian privilege and the ability to discriminate against LGBTQ people, women, and children in foster care.[5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]