Monday, July 30, 2012

Defining Religious Liberty Down

THE words “freedom of belief” do not appear in the First Amendment. Nor do the words “freedom of worship.” Instead, the Bill of Rights guarantees Americans something that its authors called “the free exercise” of religion.

It’s a significant choice of words, because it suggests a recognition that religious faith cannot be reduced to a purely private or individual affair. Most religious communities conceive of themselves as peoples or families, and the requirements of most faiths extend well beyond attendance at a sabbath service — encompassing charity and activism, education and missionary efforts, and other “exercises” that any guarantee of religious freedom must protect.
Read the rest here.

Another outstanding article by Mr. Douthat. I seriously cannot believe this guy writes for the NY Times.


CJ said...

Gotta love all the commenters who respond with some version of "your rights end where my rights begin" in support of forcing someone else to pay for their lifestyle choices.

The naked public square cant hold up forever, because in the end, someone has to decide what is the good. Why support male circumcision and not female? Is it simply the physical consequences? Then we subordinate religion to science, or more broadly, consequentialism. At the same time, we can't treat 40 Days for Life and human sacrifice the same.

Douthat is correct that the "freedom of worship" types should state their position clearly, but religious believers have to do the same. The alternative is inconsistency and special pleading.

Stephen said...

CJ, I guess you ain't luvin John Courtney Murray.

Fr. Oliver said...

We have the same confusion going on up here in the Upper Midwest. North Dakota should have passed measure three, but red herring fear tactics won the day. It was sad to see. I think his final point is the best: drop the facade.