“Freedom of religion isn’t freedom from religion.” We hear this statement repeated so often by the religious right types that it has almost become a mantra for them. But here’s a story that illustrates very well why you cannot have the former if you don’t have the latter.
In India, a minority religion called Jainism has an annual celebration called Paryushana that lasts 8-10 days. It’s similar to Lent in Christianity and Yom Kippur in Judaism, a time when the adherents of the religion fast and meditate to become more virtuous. But the Supreme Court of India has ordered all of the slaughterhouses and meat shops to not sell any meat during that period out of “respect” — whatever the hell that could mean in this context — for the Jains’ beliefs.
The order may apply only to a particular region of India, but the article doesn’t make that clear. But it doesn’t really matter. This is not freedom of religion, it is the imposition of someone else’s religion on those who do not share it. It isn’t “respect” to force non-Jains to comply with the requirements of a religion they do not believe in, it is religious authoritarianism. The Jains do, of course, have every right to participate in their religious rituals as they see fit, but they do not have any right to demand that others bow to their demands. Those who are not Jains do not have freedom of religion here if they do not have freedom from the impositions of a religion they do not belong to.