… Ask either faction whether it believes religious liberty is a human right and you’ll get a passionate, tub-thumping — mostly hypocritical — speech in favor of the idea. That’s because religious freedom is so familiar, so American a concept that nobody can really admit to opposing it. That would be like opposing apple pie. So even those who are at each other’s throats over religious liberty have to insist they all absolutely love the stuff. Instead of confessing that they’re actually opposed to religious freedom for all, the Pilgrims and the Park Rangers among us equivocate. When they say they support “religious freedom,” the Pilgrims mean the freedom of their religion, while the Park Rangers mean freedom from others’ religions. That way, they can all sound so very American — they can say they’re in favor of something called religious freedom — and still be as oppressive as they want to be.
I’m a huge fan of The Right to Be Wrong by Kevin Seamus Hasson, which has just had an updated paperback version released.
I believe if we respected each person’s right to conscience, their “right to be wrong,” our country would be a much more peaceful place. My ability to articulate this belief was both solidified and made easier to articulate when I read Hasson’s book. It’s a book we all need to read in these contentious times.
Hasson is a constitutional lawyer who heads up a non-partisan, public-interest law firm that specializes in defending free religious expression for all faiths. Hasson asserts, “We defend all faiths but we are not relativists. On any given day, I think most of my clients are wrong. But I firmly believe that, in an important sense, they have the right to be wrong.” This is not a very long book and it is written in a conversational and easy style, but it packs a heavy punch.
The updated book adds a chapter and afterward that discuss the latest set of religious struggles, which have been elevated past the tussles over Nativity scenes on government property to include federal healthcare insurance.
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