This is a potentially very important issue:
It can be correctly said of my own faith that it’s not just a religion. But it is a religion, and I would resist any attempt to deny that fact in order to subject me and my fellow believers to illegitimate state power. And so I would for anybody else’s faith.
In this context, I call attention yet again to a relevant document — one to which it was my honor and privilege to affix my signature:
Sadly, too, although I’ve done it several times before, it once again seems appropriate to quote the famous passage from the German Lutheran pastor and theologian Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), a prisoner between 1937 and 1945 at the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps, about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, one by one, group after group.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
And a famous passage from Robert Bolt’s play A Man for All Seasons:
WILLIAM ROPER: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
THOMAS MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
MORE: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you — where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — d’you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake.
Religious liberty is a bedrock principle for me, as indeed it ought to be for anybody who affirms the Constitution of the United States of America and the first element of the First Amendment to that Constitution, which is the first part of the Bill of Rights.
This is fundamental.
And, if I see religious freedom seriously threatened — whether the threat be aimed at my own faith or at Muslims or at anybody else — trust me: I’ll be out on the barricades.
Posted from Butte, Montana