Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Here's a new rant: Religious Freedom... or Religious Tyranny?

It's been years since my last random rant, but here comes one...

Kim Davis, yes, that one, the self-proclaimed martyr who refused to do her job because "it conflicted with my beliefs"... I.E. she's a fundamental Christian who don't believe gay couples should get married, and she's the county clerk in a county in Kentucky, so she refused to issue marriage licenses... and actively PREVENTED her subordinates to issue them too (since her name would appear on them).

AND she refused to resign either. Basically, she claimed that she's being persecuted for her belief, and a bunch of religious zealot / politicians such as Mike Huckabee are joining in, and even crazier religious zealots like Pat Robertson are talking about the destruction of moral values in the entire US of A, criminializing Christianity, blah blah blah.

So what's wrong with her position? Don't worry, this is not a religious argument. You can easily substitute ANY belief and it'll be the same argument.

What's wrong with Kim Davis is she thinks religious freedom extends to how she treats OTHER people, whereas religious freedom is a freedom for HERSELF.

The US Supreme Court made that abundantly clear in 1879, in a case where it upheld conviction of polygamy on some Mormons. The court stated: "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices."

In other words, you can hold any BELIEF you want, but if you DO something illegal with those beliefs (usually by involving other people and/or their property), then you'll be punished nonetheless.

Let's try a completely innocent example, non-religious.

You believe eating meat is wrong. You are a vegan. Fine, nobody can force you to eat meat. Done.

Philly cheesesteak
Philly cheesesteak (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
But if I was about enjoy a juicy philly steak sandwich, and you came snatching it out of my hand, you are interfering with MY rights.

If you the vegan go into a supermarket and start ripping up all the meat packages, spray-painting the shelves with "MEAT IS MURDER" and so on, then you WILL be arrested for vandalism, destruction of property, mayhem, and whatever local charges the cops will hit you with, not to mention civil charges for damages.

Similarly, if some "Earth First" crazies went into car dealerships at night and torched SUVs as "fuel wasters", they will be arrested and persecuted for all sorts of stuff, up to and including terrorism.

See the difference?

Nobody can force you to have a different belief, but your right to exercise that belief stops at yourself. You have no right to exercise YOUR belief on OTHER people, just as government has no right to exercise its belief on you (or any one, for that matter).

Kim Davis *is* the government... she's an elected COUNTY CLERK. She can hold any belief she wants, but she cannot do something illegal... Such as deliberately defying court order and refuse to follow the law of the land. Religious freedom does NOT entitle one to violate laws, esp. when the law does not affect her belief, only her practice / action upon such belief.

The irony is lost on many people. By using her governmental position to exercise her own religious beliefs ON OTHER PEOPLE, Kim Davis is doing the same thing she's accusing the Federal government is doing: persecution of beliefs.