The freedom of religion, twisted

March 04, 2012

I have seen and heard repeated complaints by both politicians and religious leaders that freedom of religion is denied them when others of competing faiths demand the right to practice what they believe. I rejoice in a First Amendment that allows me to believe what my church teaches, behave according to my church's rules, and share my faith with others by means of example, information and gentle persuasion. I do not assume the right to demand that laws from the state impose the disciplines of my faith on others who don't share it.

The rhetoric in today's political arena points ever more clearly to a desire on the part of some believers to have their denominational laws enforced upon all Americans, effectively establishing a government-sponsored national religion. This would violate the Constitution as it stands and would abrogate the rights of all persons who do not presently profess faith in that denomination.

The essential question in this and several other current arguments is this: What right is held by anyone that is so absolute that it supersedes the same right of his/her neighbor?

Thad Paulhamus, Baltimore

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