Secular Sense From a Religious Judge

March 2, 2011

We need /  this / in the US as well. No, the article is  not too long. Yes, it’s worth reading. There is a balance that must be struck – what  power-groups-in-charge never seem to grasp is that treating everyone equally means that they  lose their position of privilege and power. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, what matters is that others must be protected from having your beliefs imposed upon them. Why is that so hard to understand?

I liked this comment from ‘hillbillyzombie’:  The freedom to practice religion is an important civil right that even we secularists should support. But the believer must, in turn, refrain from practicing that religion on other people, so to speak.

It is a tricky, complex issue, certainly. Where does the state draw the line on what is and is not acceptable tolerance of religious views? Here in Oregon, we have the right to assisted suicide. The only argument against letting people ‘own’ their own lives is that suicide is a religious crime. But if you don’t follow that religion, why should you have to follow its beliefs?

As far as I know, there is no religion that advocates murder, theft, or abuse.  They may have followers who do those things, and who justify them on the grounds that the victims were evil or outside the religion’s authority. Or,  (also in Oregon) the state is intervening to stop children from dying of treatable diseases because their parents prefer prayer to medicine; the abuse is because the children are under the religion’s authority.

The point is, you believe what you want, and you don’t impose it on others in word or deed. As a society, we accept that murder, theft, abuse are wrong. As I’ve said before, and will most certainly say again – never treat other people as objects. They are as real, as important, as human as you. Abide by that code, and you won’t go wrong, even when disagreements arise.

Respect. That’s the true fundamentalism we all need to cherish.

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