We’ve watched political candidates try to be the most “godly” and “faithful” for years. Now they even use religious liberty as a weapon to fight for “most godly” status. No, they aren’t talking about individual rights in the Constitution. The new meaning of “religious liberty” now seems to be “religious domination”.
Here’s how the new meaning works. When a politician says, “Washington politicians are infringing on your personal religious liberties” what is really meant is “The government isn’t helping your denomination impose its views on other Americans”. How can we help our religious friends and neighbors wake up to this dangerous double-talk?
Over at the Huffington Post, United Church of Christ minister Emily Heath tells it like it is, in her recent blog “How to Determine if Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions.”
She designed a quick test of ten questions, quoted below, to let religious people find out if their religious liberty is threatened. All they have to do is honestly answer each question with choice A or B. Here are her ten questions:
1. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.
B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own choosing.
2. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage.
B) Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.
3. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am being forced to use birth control.
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 allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.
6. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material.
B) Others are allowed to have access books, movies and websites that I do not like.
7. My religious liberty is at risk because:
A) My religious group is not allowed equal protection under the establishment clause.
B) My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources as we would like, for whatever purposes we might like.
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.
This UCC minister should be thanked for her clever test. I would put it this way — Dear religious believer, unless you can honestly answer A to any of these questions, your religious liberties are fully protected, and you should thank the Constitution and your government. If you think that answer B is the right answer to some of these questions, then you are more interested in violating the religious freedoms of others than sustaining your own religious life. If you really think that you can’t be fully religious without forcing others to obey your religion too, then you are the problem in this democracy, not the government.
This short test exposes how it’s really all about religious domination for those crying about religious liberty. Let’s start asking our politicians for the evidence proving violations of personal religious liberty. They either don’t understand what America is really like, or they don’t understand the US Constitution. What they apparently do understand is how to pander to minority denominations dreaming of domination over the majority.