Freedom of religion, and freedom from religion (letter)
In his July 24, 2015 letter to the editor, Chuck Abrams states his dissatisfaction with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. He implies that upholding the civil rights of homosexuals is somehow violating his religious rights.
I say that this is nonsense, and that his feelings come from a misunderstanding of what religious rights actually are.
Religious rights include the right for individuals to choose which religion, if any, they wish to believe and/or practice, as well as the right to not be treated differently by the government based their choice. What religious rights DO NOT do is give members of any particular religion the right to force other people to live according to the teachings of that religion.
Mr. Abrams’ idea that certain individuals should not be allowed equal rights because it is not in line with his religion is absolutely absurd. Unfortunately, he is not the only one to misconstrue religious rights in this manner: Millions of conservatives in this country cling to the same notion, and they use it to justify discrimination against various groups of people.
People who tend to make this misinterpretation of religious rights often believe that everyone else should share the same ideas. For example, Mr. Abrams inaccurately postulates that most Americans take issue with the Supreme Court’s expansion of marriage to include homosexual couples. However, a 2015 poll by Pew Research reveals just the opposite, with 57% of Americans in support of gay marriage.
I will not argue that the Bible condemns homosexuality. However, I will say that not everyone believes the Bible, and, because of religious rights, they don’t have to. Christians may represent a majority religious group in this country, but that DOES NOT give them the right to impose their chosen religion on everyone else.
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