How to Determine if Your Religious Liberty is at Threat in Just Ten Quick Questions.

It seems like this election season “religious liberty” is a hot topic. Rumors of its demise are all around, as are politicians who want to make sure that you know they will never do anything to intrude upon it.

I’m a religious person with a lifelong passion for civil rights, so this is of great interest to me. So much so, that I believe we all need to determine whether our religious liberties are indeed at risk. So, as a public service, I’ve come up with this little quiz. I call it “How to Determine if Your Religious Liberty is at Threat in Just Ten Quick Questions.” Just pick “A” or “B” for each question.

Question One

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.

Question Two

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.

Question Three

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.

Question Four

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.

Question Five

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.

Question Six

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.

Question Seven

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.

Question Eight

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.

Question Nine

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.

Question Ten

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.

Scoring key:

If you answered “A” to any question, then perhaps your religious liberty is indeed at stake. You and your faith group have every right to now advocate for equal protection under the law. But just remember this one little, constitutional, concept: this means you can fight for your equality…not your superiority.

If you answered “B” to any question, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others. This is the point where I would invite you to refer back to the tenets of your faith, especially the ones about your neighbors.

In closing, no matter what soundbites you hear this election year, remember this: religious liberty is never secured by a campaign of religious superiority. The only way to ensure your own religious liberty remains strong is by advocating for the religious liberty of all, including those with whom you may passionately disagree. Because they deserve the same rights as you. Nothing more. Nothing less.

24 thoughts on “How to Determine if Your Religious Liberty is at Threat in Just Ten Quick Questions.

  1. Well spoken if you don’t truly care about religious liberty. I understand your underpinning of your own beliefs and even your probable dissent of the beliefs of other “religious”, but you have left the door open for oppression of the right of anyone of faith by watering down the crux of the matter to those that serve your own politics.

    1. you missed “J’s” point by reading those 3 lines. you should have read between the lines. J chose “B” on all ten questions.

  2. Their should be a “c” choice to all of those questions:

    1c no one is allowed to go to any religious service.
    2c I am forced to publicly recognize a union that directly conflicts with my own personal beliefs.
    3c i am not allowed to use birth controll.
    4c I am not allowed to pray publicly yet others are allowed to display their personal beliefs publicly.
    5c being a member of my faith subjects me to unfair and often personally invading “random” checks at airports, and other public places.
    6c I’m not allowed to read or share my religious books publicly.
    7c other religious groups are allowed to utilize public buildings etc that my religious group is not.
    8c My country was founded upon traits of a particular faith and my religion conflicts with many of those laws and principles.
    9c any religious community wants to build a minument or sanctuary on the sight of another religions sacred ground. Purely for disrespectful reasons.
    10c public schools teach theory as fact and deny the cultural beliefs of the origin of the universe emberaced by 80% of the world in favor of these unproved theories.

    1. First off Arorra, it’s not their, it’s there. Second, scientific definition of theory is not the same as the laymans definition of theory. Third, I believe the rules here are that you must include your entire name in your post.

  3. Arorra:
    1c Fortunately, this is not the case in this country (assuming we are talking about the USA)
    2c No one is forcing you to recognize anything publicly. The state may recognize interracial marriages, but you’re free deny the existence of those unions if you please.
    3c Are there places where this might be the case?
    4c I don’t know of any laws preventing any member of any faith from doing that.
    5c Fair point.
    6c See 4c.
    7c Though unlawful, I suspect that this unfortunately occurs in some places.
    8c (Again, assuming we’re talking about the US) I would disagree that this country was founded upon any particular religious “traits,” though I’m not clear what is meant by that. Regardless, the rule of law cannot possibly be in harmony with everyone’s religious ideals if you mean to allow all those religious ideals to exist. This is why we have a secular constitution and why it’s important for laws to have a secular basis.
    9c I’m afraid I don’t know what this is referring to.
    10c “Fact” and “theory” are not mutually exclusive in a scientific sense. Scientific theories do not “graduate” into facts. Theory is the best there is. Therefore, I see no problem with teaching the germ THEORY of disease in science classrooms. The popularity of an idea says nothing of its accuracy. Science is based on evidence, not on what fits best with your presuppositions.

    1. Hey Guy.
      4c. Actually, or at least as far as I know, in public schools in Ohio, it is considered unwise to pray publicly because religion is a sketchy subject in general. In many schools the pledge is no longer recited because of the “under God” part, which was part of some lawsuit a number of years ago.
      8c. It seems that many people operate under the incorrect that the main philosophy used in our country’s founding and the development of its laws were Biblical, or at least Christian. A lot of the structure of our government was based off of ideas borrowed from (or stolen from, if you get in a conversation with a certain type of person) ancient Greek and Roman government structures, Enlightenment philosophy, and the structure of the Iroquois Confederacy. Then there are the documentaries that bash some of the Founders for being Masons, Deists, and all manner of heathen, pagan, or heretic. 😦

      1. Arorra,

        5c. You being a member of a particular faith, or everybody of a particular faith are not the only ones that are often checked in airports; so it is not something exclusive to you. Instead, focus should be placed on ensuring that checks like those are done in a way that is warranted.

        Laverne,

        It may be unwise to pray, however, it does not mean you cannot though I was always under the assumption that prayer was a private manner or with consenting people. The reason why the Pledge of Allegiance was taken out, though I disagree with most of the premise, is because it forced those not religious, etc., to support something they would not. I still think the Pledge of Allegiance should be stated without “Under God” or with “Endowed by the Creator,” – given that it is in the Constitution, however.

  4. I agree that this article was likely written by a liberal. But, being fairly liberal myself, I agreed with it anyway. Until it got to this question:

    B. My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings, and resources as we would like, for whatever purposes we might like.

    Then later, the article said,

    If you answered “B” to any question, then not only is your religious liberty not at stake, but there is a strong chance that you are oppressing the religious liberties of others.

    Huh? So if a Christian group wants to use a public building, (Which is, you know, for the public) then that is oppressing others? Are Christians not members of the public now? In fact, if a Christian group is banned from using a public building that is available for any other group to use, that is discrimination. And that has happened, apparently with this author’s blessing. Holy wow. Of course, the article could mean Christians taking over a public building and not letting anyone else use it. Except that’s not what it said at all.

    1. Would you feel the same way if it was a Jewish group or a Muslim group or an Atheist group that wanted to use the building? If so, good for you, but I believe many self proclaimed Christians would not. I believe the key here in the question is the clarifier “for whatever purposes we might like”. I have no problems with religious groups wanting to use publicly funded buildings for their functions, but they should bear the same costs as secular groups that want to use them. I get tired of hearing “we are a non profit” so we shouldn’t have to pay. Public buildings cost money to maintain and operate and the users should bear those costs.

    2. By your definition, I would find that it would then be a violation for public groups not associated with a faith not to be able to use a church, but yet many would not be. Just saying. One of the main things she points out is EQUALITY… not SUPERIORITY.

      1. Samuel – If the church (shrine, temple, mosque, etc) were publicly funded, then yes, any public group should be able to use it. I’m not aware of any such places. If they’re privately funded, then the group that owns them can choose who may or may not use the buildings.
        Leaving aside the question of the violation of the separation of church and state inherent in a publicly-funded religious building…

        Mark – what that question brought up for me (not certain of the author’s intent) was things like using public funds to display the Ten Commandments in a public building. And that I have a problem with on several levels (see second paragraph above).

  5. I am a devout Roman Catholic and I accept and believe in the teachings of the Church founded by Christ himself. As a Catholic I also believe in the Love that Jesus Christ brought from the Father.
    Jesus christ is God and God is Love. Christ said, “Love one another as I have Loved You.” I cannot pass judgement on a Gay Man or a Lesbian Woman. Christ told the people who were going to stone the adulterous “The one without sin shall cast the first stone” The people dropped the stones and walked away. Christ said to the adulterous if they have not condemned you nor will I. Go and sin no more. I may reject Homosexual acts but I will not reject the Homosexual Person.

  6. I have added some “C” answers to several of these questions as they do not truly paint a picture of the religious liberty issues that face our nation. Religious liberty is downtrodden when one’s beliefs are not given the full credence and protection of the law. No person or persons should be put in a position whereby their religious beliefs are a reason for persecution or unequal treatment under the law. Unfortunately, that has been the case all too often and it is only getting worse. If you are a Muslim, you are labeled a terrorist. If you are a Christian, you are a gay hater and you are against women’s health. If you are a creationist you are derided for your beliefs and, if you are a creationist teacher, you are censored for those beliefs. If you stand strongly on your beliefs then you can be convicted of hate crimes for your thoughts AND you are open to viscous attacks on you personally, your family, and your business. Churches today have be looking over their shoulders because they can be attacked for what they are preaching from the pulpit! They have to be very specific in their language to avoid attacks from various anti-Christian groups.
    While I see the point of this quiz…I do get it…it is an extremely inaccurate oversimplification of the reality of our society today. It is written from a point of view that does not take into account the pain and fear that is creeping into people of faith today.

    Question Two
    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.
    C) I am being forced by those whose marriage would be considered sinful in my church to participate in the preparation/celebration of that marriage.

    Question Three
    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.
    C) I am being forced to contribute to health plans that encourage and provide for types of birth control that my church sees as murder.

    Question Four
    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.
    C) When prayers are offered in a public place I must not pray to my God and in the way that my faith teaches me to…even if I am an armed forces chaplain.

    Question Five
    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.
    C) If my faith sees homosexuality as a sin then I can be branded as illegally hateful just for speaking about my beliefs.

    Question Seven
    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.
    C) My religious group is smeared and belittled in the media and in the public square while others are allowed access and are protected by those in power.

    Question Eight
    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.
    C) My religious group is muzzled and told not to speak up about issues that face us while other religious groups are pandered to and coddled out of fear.

    Question Ten
    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.
    C) Public schools are forced to teach theories as scientific fact without offering alternative explanations to be brought to the discussion. The “creation stories” that are a part of ALL of the major religions will not be tolerated even as a cultural alternative.
    Scoring key:

    If you answered “C” to any of these then your religious liberty IS at stake but it is being attacked in a far more insidious and subtle manner that those of other belief systems may not truly understand or relate to.

    1. Thank you, you expressed the point of this article very neatly. I particularly like the line “Religious liberty is downtrodden when one’s beliefs are not given the full credence and protection of the law.”
      Uh-huh. So everyone’s beliefs should be given full credence and protection? Or just yours?

  7. Question 11

    A) I am not allowed to use a made up name on a discussion about religious liberty.

    B) I can’t think of anything to put here, but since this is just a joke comment it doesn’t matter.

    But seriously, you hit the nail on the head. A lot of people think that religious liberty means forcing others to abide by the “rules” of a single religion.

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