How to determine if your religious liberty is being threatened

Christina here.
I saw this awesome Huffpo post entitled How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions and think it is great!

However, as I was reading it, I got the impression that we need more than 10 questions, and that some of the questions could be worded a little more neutrally. Thus, here is: “How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 14 Quick Questions”

1. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my choosing.
B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their choosing.

2. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to marry the consenting person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses our marriage.
B) Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs about marriage on all citizens of that state.

3. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I cannot use birth control because pharmacies I have access to refuse to dispense it.
B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.

4. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to pray privately.
B) I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.

5. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse.
B) I am no longer legally sheltered when I bully people whose religious beliefs differ from my own.

6. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material of my choosing.
B) Others are allowed to have access books, movies and websites that are offensive to my religion.

7. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources at all.
B) My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources if we endorse political candidates.

8. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) Another religious group has been declared the official faith of my country.
B) My own religious group is not given status as the official faith of my country.

9. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) My religious community is not allowed to build a house of worship in my community.
B) A religious community I do not like wants to build a house of worship in my community.

10. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to teach my children the creation stories of our faith at home.
B) Public school science classes are teaching science that is at odds with the creation stories of my faith.

11. My religious liberty is at risk because
A) People in my society fear that their children might be exposed to my religious practices.
B) My children might be exposed to a religion or religious practice that goes against my religion.

12. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to form a club at my public school for my religion.
B) Children at my local public school are trying to form a club for a religion I do not like.

13. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) Another religious group has written their religious laws on a publicly owned building.
B) My religious group is not allowed to write our religious laws on a publicly owned building.

14. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am being compelled to take part in religious worship activities
B) I am not allowed to compel others to take part in religious worship activities.

If you answered mostly “B”s, then your religious liberty is probably not being threatened. I can understand why you might think your religious liberty is being threatened, but I urge you to take a look at the threat you are feeling and turn it around: try this test: whatever you want to do, pretend a religion you really dislike is the one doing it instead. Maybe you think it’s unfair that the local court won’t let you engrave the Ten Commandments in stone across the new foyer. Imagine if atheists wanted to engrave, “There is no god, now stop living in a fantasy world” instead. Maybe you think it’s unfair that a teacher at your local school can’t make kids listen to a prayer before class starts: Imagine if that teacher wanted the kids to recite a prayer of some other religion you disagree with instead. Maybe you thin its unfair that the “definition of marriage” was broadened to include gays. Imagine if marriage between people of your religious group were banned instead.

If you answered mostly “A”s, then your religious liberty might be being threatened.  Please examine the situation further and, if needed, take appropriate action and become an advocate.

What do you think? Do you have more questions that could be added?

Learn more about Christina and follow her on Twitter @Ziztur

 

About christinastephens
  • otocump

    I think its great! I can’t think of anything else though, I think your 14 covered pretty much every example out there so far. At least the ones in the media lately.

  • eric

    There might be too many questions, as there is a lot of repetition of your same basic theme. But excellent theme! The A vs B contrast really makes the difference (between real repression and faux repression) stand out.

  • Kyle

    Uhhh, number 3 kinda misses exactly what the point of the HHS mandate is.

    • http://www.virtue-quest.com/ Robert King

      Exactly. Maybe better:

      A) I am being forced to pay for procedures (such as artificial contraceptives, or sterilizations, or abortifacient drugs) that my religion regards as immoral.
      B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.

      • christinastephens

        I can understand why you might think this, but the problem is that we all have to pay for things our religion(s) find immoral.

        War? Grants to churches? Funding for animal research studies?

        Specifically regarding healthcare: Penile implants for erectile dysfunction? Blood transfusions? Out of wedlock births? Treatment for alcoholism? Chiropractic treatments?

        There are lots of things health insurance covers which people regard as immoral for religious reasons.

        • Ryan

          #3 is worded fine as is.

          I wouldn’t actually add a question about abortion, as Judaism dictates life begins at birth and that a woman must decide for herself whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.

          • Ryan

            Sorry, typo. I WOULD add a question.

      • LeftWingFox

        So, we shouldn’t cover Blood transfusions because it’s immoral to Jehovah’s witnesses? We shouldn’t provide any medical care because it’s goes against Christian Scientists? We shouldn’t provide any psychiatric care because it’s offensive to Scientologists?

      • Gwynnyd

        No. no. They are NOT “being forced to pay” for things they find immoral. You are framing it in their terms.
        Maybe – “Public or grouped funds are being used to pay for things (insert list) my religion says are immoral and I think that is the same as forcing me to pay for them.”
        “I am unable to force others to not use birth control.”

  • Kate

    This is so awesome.

  • SparkyB

    “A) People in my society ban or boycott expressions of my religion” sounds a bit too close to what some said was violating religious liberty when people boycotted Chick-Fil-A. Is there someway to rewrite it to distinguish institutionalized discrimination based on your expression of religion (for instance, those people had a point when it came to the mayor of Boston claiming he might block a Chick-Fil-A there because he didn’t like what Dan Cathy had to say (with mouth and money)), and the public’s right to choose to boycott for any reason (even if it is unjustified prejudice)? The latter, which is mostly what people were complaining about, seems more like a “B” answer.

    • christinastephens

      I actually thought of that, but am not sure how to rewrite it. Hmmm…..

    • christinastephens

      Okay, I rewrote it to be more in line with what I was thinking:

      I’ve noticed a lot of people in society fear their children might be exposed to homosexuality. They don’t want their kids to hear about gay people in schools or in the media, and cry foul when their children are exposed to ideas of homosexuality. Thus, people try to ban any discussion or teaching of homosexuality from public schools.

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  • Jasper

    To those who are whining about “paying for other’s immoral stuff”. Wake me when we’ve ended faith based initiatives.

  • Liam

    i feel like my atheism answered all A’s

    • anteprepro

      Really? I could only get 3, 5, 8, 11, 12, and 13 as an A. The rest would be exaggerating by a bit.

      • Ryan

        An LGBT atheist would experience #2. I experience #14 regularly, every time the Pledge of Allegiance or God Bless America is performed in public as they are always audience participation. I question #12. Must schools allow religious clubs? Certainly, if they allow one then must allow all.

        • anteprepro

          I suppose you are right about #2. It requires a bit of thinking, but I see the connection now. And I wouldn’t count the Pledge etc. as “worship”. I would see it as a mix between 8 and 13.

          You are right about number 12. But it is true that even when there are religious clubs, and schools technically would be obligated to allow an atheist club, people will go out of their way to stop that from happening. JT got a letter a while back from a teacher that admitted to specifically attempting to thwart the creation of an atheist club, even when there were Christian clubs in the school, due to his hatred and fear of Godlessness (I believe he equated it to Satanism).

        • Ryan

          The pledge of allegiance and god bless america are not required activity. You may feel social pressure to do them because everyone else is doing them, but that is not the same thing as being compelled. I was the only person in many classes in school years ago who refused to recite the pledge of allegiance(in a fairly conservative and religious area at that), and while I might have been heckled, I was never compelled. They are different.

        • Anonymous

          Really? You still have the Pledge of Allegience? I have not heard that being done ANYWHERE in the US for many years because citizens do not feel that they should have allegience to the USA so it was dropped.

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  • Anonymous

    Thankfully nothing regarding my liberties from fiction has been violated. I just hope it stays this way so that the Kool-Aid drinking Jonestown crowd never gets their way and forces their fiction on the few of us who actually believe in reality vs. fiction.

    If you find it that your religion is actually factual, please ensure that your writings do not constantly contradict themselves all over the place. I have not found a single religion to date that does not have some really screwed up interpretations in their many many books/scriptures. Also, as for religions being peaceful…you know which tend to toss that ad out there constantly, yes…small religions start off quite peaceful as they have no momentum and power but once they grow large enough they impose their views on the rest of the population/world and start their religious warfare to supress & exterminate any forms of opposing views. This world would be quite a bit more calm without having religion constantly stirring up troubles, but mankind is an animal of nature and without religion we would look for other things….racial hatred, color hatred, dress hatred, speech hatred….mankind is doomed to die killing each other for idiotic things. If mankind can make it past superstitions, selfishness and other useless traits, they may venture into the Golden Age of Discovery and will expand into the vastness of knowledge hopefully with purpose and conviction leaving behind the pettiness and disruptions which just keep Humanity at the animal level.


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