Now for the most part of the world, freedom of religion is believed to be a human right, and in a whole lot of countries it is granted as fundamental right in national laws. Yay. Good.
There is something wrong with it, though.
Everybody feels good about claiming this right for themselves: “I can choose to believe in whatever I want, and its nobody’s business.” And they are right, but thats just half the truth. The other half is respecting the others’ Freedom of Religion. And that is where the trouble comes in, as that seems to be ignored by the same people that claim it for themselves.
The Principle of Missioning – What is called “missioning” is effectively ignoring the another person’s current faith (because it is so obviously wrong) and trying to convince them that there is only one true religion. It ignores that the missioning victim is already pursuing his right to freedom of religion by believing a) in something else or b) that all religions are crap. Allowing missioning in your religion provides the moral basis to deny others of their fundamental right, until they believe in the same thing as you are. Even if you put a sign at your door saying “I don’t want to be bothered with your nonsense”, you can be sure that some Mormon is gonna ring the bell. This is totally not what was meant by Freedom of Religion.
Soaring above Others – I cannot tell you how often I’ve heard somebody preach how much more valueable and great the followers of the true religion are, because they believe. Well? Totally unlike the non-believers, who aren’t worth as much because they don’t happen to believe in the same crap as you? I’ve heard preachers comparing the non-believers (or whoever happens not to believe in their truth) to frogs, because their lives are as meaningless as that of frogs. Okay – “Ribbit”. Now what? I’m not even getting into how important frogs are to nature, but I am totally objecting to the principle of The Chosen People. And I’m totally objecting preaching that, because – just think about it once – if one is chosen to be more valuable than the other, it makes the other worth less. Duh! That is the foundation to slavery and genocide. If your preacher tells you that you’re worth more than others, he’s not only wrong, he’s also making way for mass murder – that totally is not Freedom of Religion.
Entitlement – Again and again religious leaders claim that their religion entitles them to certain privileges, state funding, the right to build temples on public grounds, influence laws and media and whatnot. The answer is: No it does not! The fact that you believe in something entitles you to big fat nothing. I’ll give you that for free, you can pick it up at my house. If you want to believe in something, go ahead, but don’t expect others to support you! Just because you believe your temple should be built in the center of your town, does not entitle you to that property. If the property you have does not allow for a building with more than three stories to be built, then you cannot build a church tower there – your beliefs don’t change that, okay? Just because you believe there shouldn’t be topless women in public TV does not give you the right to enforce that on the media – the only thing you’re entitled to is to switch the damn thing off. And if you’re preacher is on TV, I am so entitled to switch channels, you wouldn’t believe it. What seems so simple still doesn’t get into peoples heads. It is called Freedom of Religion, not Entitlement to Dictatorship.
I know that according to Martin Luther, reason is the devil’s bride, so I have probably lost a number of readers half way through. But fundamental rights apply to everyone, thats what makes them fundamental. That includes you, but that also includes me, and mind you, I am going to claim my Freedom from Religion.
So keep your beliefs out of my life, will ya?