The Reality of Religious Freedom

Posted Dec 02, 2010

Let's get one thing straight: I am an Atheist. I don't believe any Gods or Goddesses exist. To me, they are in the same category as any other mythical, imaginary creature we humans created.

However, this does not mean I expect everyone else to be an Atheist. I have no intention of expecting the entire world (or any portion of it) to have the same beliefs I do. If they do, great. If not, I'm perfectly OK with it. I will, of course, enjoy discussing and debating the issues of religion with anyone from any religion. However, at the end, they are free to believe whatever they feel is right for them.

I, as an individual have zero right to force anyone toward my beliefs. Even my children. I will, of course, educate them in my ideas, beliefs and customs (yes, I celebrate certain holidays too) but when they grow up, if they decide to follow another religion, that is their choice and I hope it brings them all the happiness in the world.

Also, in the spirit of Individualism, no person has a right to force their religious beliefs on me. They are free to debate me, and that's fine. I love learning. But when we part ways, my decision is mine, not theirs.

And by corollary, if an individual is not allowed to force something on me, neither is a group of individuals.

This means quite simply that no group, even one as big and powerful as a government, has the right to force upon me what my beliefs are.

However, we must remember that government employees are also other humans. Ones with their own specific religious beliefs. And being in government allows them access and control to certain government-owned land. Any land-owner has the right to do what they want with their property, so long as they do not break the four main laws. That goes for both private and government owned land.

So, if a government employee wants to place a religious symbol or sign on government property they control, they have that right. Simply being an employee of some government or business does not nullify their right to their beliefs.

So for all these government employees that put up 10-commandments, or some cross on public land, we Atheists have every right to state we believe the person might be a moron, but we do not have a right to demand that those religious symbols be removed. To demand the removal of religious freedoms from others while crying about your own freedoms is the height of hypocrisy.

If you want a religious symbol removed from government owned land, then get elected and remove it yourself. Otherwise ignore it, and/or simply educate those you love about your beliefs. But remember, let them decide for themselves.

Back to list