Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Original Definition of 'Religious Freedom'

Last week, the Utah house unanimously passed a law that recognizes "January 16th as Religious Freedom Day and honoring the founding definition of Religious Freedom."

The current debate for religious freedom is generally within the definition of:

I should legally be able to refuse services, housing, employment, and public associations with anyone or anything based off of deeply held religious beliefs.

But this definition only really came out as a desperate last attempt to stifle the social progress of same-sex marriage legalization and other anti-discriminatory legislation. 

The original definition of religious freedom came from the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. James Madison then put it into law in 1786. This definition, in addition to removing a state established church, was:

An individual’s beliefs or non-beliefs “shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect [one’s] civil capacities.” In other words, what you believe or don't believe cannot be used as an excuse to either withhold services from you, or give you an advantage that others do not have.
This tune is dramatically different from that of religious proponents today. If believers wish to drum the original intent of the constitution and the founding fathers, they need not look further.

There is no need to add anymore anti-constitutional exceptions and special privileges to religion and religious people. Religion is already protected for one to worship as they please on their own. But what you do or work or business or otherwise in the civil sector is not your religion.

Let us honor January 16 as either Freedom of Religion or Freedom FROM Religion freely, as we choose.

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