Friday, October 12, 2012

"Religious freedoms"

Yesterday Mitt Romney met and prayed with Billy Graham, who applauded the candidate's "values and strong moral convictions." Billy Graham subsequently asked voters to "join me in praying for our nation and to vote for candidates who will support the biblical definition of marriage, protect the sanctity of life and defend our religious freedoms."

Comparing and contrasting those three items is interesting. "Supporting the biblical definition of marriage" is code for "make sure gays can't marry," which to me seems like limiting freedom, not supporting it. Similarly, "protect the sanctity of life" means "get rid of Roe vs. Wade," which is again about limiting freedom-- in this case, the freedom of women to control their bodies. These are both at bottom religious issues. People of course have the right to believe what they wish, but the problem is that fundamentalists want to force those beliefs onto others, even (or perhaps especially) those of us who don't hold strong religious beliefs. The only "freedom" that really seems to matter to Graham and his ilk is the freedom for fundamentalists to push their way of thinking on the rest of us.

Is that really religious freedom? For them, perhaps. For the rest of us, not so much. It reminds me of something that great philosopher Captain Picard once said. It seems to me that if the theocrats ever get what they really want, control of the United States, this "could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom, expanding them for some... savagely curtailing them for others."

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