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  • Thomas Ryscavage MD

    Before you are sure of your interpretation of the Quran it is essential that you understand ‘Abrogation’.

  • It’s great to talk about “religious freedom.” Unfortunately, what that means to people can vary immensely.

    For many, it means “freedom to follow any religion, or none at all, or a mixture of them, or even to invent one’s own faith and follow that.” For the Religious Right, it means “freedom to impose their version of their religion on EVERYONE because their version of their religion teaches that they MUST be allowed to do so and that their version of their religion is the ONLY one that any human being should be permitted to follow.”

    Toward that end, they demand that things be outlawed … for EVERYONE, regardless of their own religion … simply because they don’t think it’s permissible. And they have no problem with this, because in reality they think other people of other religions don’t actually have a right to follow those other religions.

  • Yoh

    Actually its not only license to sin, its also a prohibition from giving your notions of sin color of law.

    What is considered sinful and what is considered moral or lawful are vastly different things

    What Jesus says is of no concern for our laws nor can you compel people to care what they were using legal force. Religious freedom means it is strictly a personal business between you and your beliefs. Not the concern of anyone else.

  • Yoh

    Your opinions of the Quran and Muslims is of no importance as to whether Muslims are entitled to free exercise of their religion. Nor is it relevant to notions of equal protection under the law.

    There is a certain subset of Christians who use the words “religious freedom” when they are really trying to say “undue privilege over others”. People who claim their religious beliefs give them a right to discriminate and attack others without legal or social reprecussions. They decry Sharia Law yet want to enact their own version of it. Religious freedom only exists when it applies to all faiths. Otherwise it is simply a euphemism for sectarian discrimination.

  • Re: “Religious freedom is not a license to sin.”

    Of course that’s what it is … a license to “sin”! Why do I say that? There’s a reason for that, and it’s because there is no universal definition of “sin.” And it turns out there’s a reason for that, which is that different religions define different things as “sin.” Because we have “religious freedom,” we have different people living according to different definitions of “sin.” What one person decries as “sin,” and demands be outlawed, may not be “sin” in the eyes of some others whose religions are different.

    And then of course, “freedom of religion” means people are also free not to have any definitions of “sin” at all. That would include me. “Sin” is an anachronistic concept which is no longer useful. Now, you could certainly try to impose your idea of “sin” on me and force me to live as you want me to … but you’d fail utterly, because it will never happen. Too bad so sad for you.

  • Torin93

    Wow, it’s great that you can express yourself and not get arrested!

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  • Ben of Oakland

    Sure it’s a license to sin.

    It’s a sin not to believe that jesus died for your sins. It’s a sin to believe in other gods besides the Christian one. It’s a sin to blashpeme the Christian god by even thinking that a different religious story is true,.

    ALL of those things are sins worthy of damnation. But you don’t have to give a damn what I believe, and vice versa. Religious freedom means we can all believe whatever we want, and the secular law which governs all of us will not punish, harm, or disadvantage me for not believing your strictly theological concerns. And vice versa.

  • G Key

    It’s not the belief system, it’s what you do with it.

    Some people of a given faith think it’s a religious virtue to mistreat other-believers. Other people of that same religion are appalled by the very idea. Still others think such abuse is permitted but not blessed. Many, maybe most, think religious cruelty is an ancient, primitive value that belongs in the past and is unthinkable today — despite what their ancient scriptures still say. A few merciful believers may even think that certain parts of their ancient scriptures — such as the rarely discussed and generally ignored exhortations to cruelty traditionally attributed to the God of Abraham in biblical passages such as Joshua 6-8, Matthew 7 & 10, Luke 10, and Revelation 20 — should be edited/updated for the sake of human decency.

    What do you believe?

  • G Key

    It’s important to recognize that a similar range of thoughts and values exist in non-Abrahamic faiths — and in the nonreligious community as well. Regardless of belief or nonbelief, some people fight for Equality, Respect, and Compassion, others fight for Inequality, Trespass, and Cruelty, and still others stand by and claim to be neutral.

    Personally, I believe that it is wholly wrongful, and holistically harmful, for any spiritual/existential belief system or believer to disrespect another’s boundaries. I believe that it is blasphemous for any shepherd or sheep to claim rights to another’s blessed pasture. And I believe that such ungodly trespass leads to inhuman cruelty.

    Now that humans can finally communicate with each other all over the world, isn’t it about time we discussed how we treat each other?

  • @Torin93,

    Thank Atheists for your right to religion.
    The people who wrote the first Amendment did not believe in Jesus Christ – in fact they despised religion and wanted to make sure it would never be too powerful in the USA.

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…”
    – First Amendment

    THIS GUARANTEES no religion shall be forced on anyone.
    Long live blasphemy.

  • Campbell Rosser

    That all ancient god worship should have disappeared with the camel and sheepherders.

  • James Redmond


    Max is generally correct.

    The founding ‘fathers’ of America are on record for despising what they considered the mindless wars of religion which were something of a routine in Europe. The solution they came up with was to keep religion out of the powerful reigns of government so as to prevent the state from enforcing its godly battles on non-believers and others.
    Max is also correct about who to thank for our religious freedoms – the writers were non believers of the biblical god (they were deists, not christians).

    Religion was allowed as a private expression. But forbidden as public law. That concept is a blasphemy to many religions but it is what has enabled so much religious freedom in America.

  • Fran

    Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love his Father, God, with your whole heart, mind and soul. The second one is to love your fellowman as yourself. So what Jesus said is of real value to us Unfortunately, love for our fellowman cannot be “legislated” by any of man’s governments, laws and commands. It requires sincere desire and action on the part of humans to make it happen and become real.

  • Lexxi,

    Read “Origin of the Species”

  • treedweller

    I fully support the President’s statements in support of American Muslims. Now, when can we expect a statement reminding everyone that atheists also have freedoms? When will he say we are not atheist or American, but rather atheist and American?

  • Jay Youn

    I want to adopt your comment and give it a good home and bicycle.

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  • DHFabian

    What remains left out of the political and religious conversation is a legitimate discussion about our poverty crisis. The fact remains that not everyone is able to work (health, etc.), there simply aren’t jobs for all. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s. The last I heard, there are seven jobs for every ten people who still have the means to search for one (can’t get a job without a home address, phone, bus fare). I think that this generation’s flat indifference toward the suffering of those who are left out, tells us something very disturbing about what we have become, as a people.

  • Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    God is One – Paths are many.