Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do Religious Freedoms Include Right to Persecute?

By Gregory Allen

No. They don’t.

A debate has erupted between the Obama Administration and religious organizations, mostly Catholics. One group is trying to provide contraception to women and preserve their health rights; the other is trying to take them away.

Catholics and others are enraged over a new law which would require employer health insurance plans to cover birth control without copay. This will provide millions of women with access to birth control and the means to protect their health and control their own reproductive functions.

After compromising, the law exempts hospitals and charities with religious objections from providing services they are opposed to, instead the insurance companies will reach out to women and offer contraceptive services. Religious groups and organizations will not have to provide these services directly.

Obama compromised with religious groups. Reasonable. But Catholics were still not satisfied. Because women still have rights. Unreasonable.


Catholics and religious opponents have claimed this is an attack on their religious freedoms and their conscience. But this isn’t an attack on religious beliefs or conscience. Religious beliefs are moderated by our conscience, because very few people follow EVERY mandate of their faith.

Slavery is defended adamantly by St. Paul in the New Testament. The Old Testament encourages assaulting your children. The Qur’an advises killing people of other faiths because it is divinely ordained. But these religious beliefs are not considered freedoms, and are outlawed in the United States because of their negative effects on others.

The Qur’an also preaches that a woman is worth only half as much as a man. The Old Testament commands that women are property, to be regarded with the same value as cattle. These beliefs should also be confronted, because while we know slavery, child abuse, and murder are wrong, misogyny is not regarded with the same serious attention.

In reality, this is an attack on women’s rights, not religious freedoms. 98% of catholic women use birth control. But women aren’t demanding their own rights to be taken from them, religious men are, and this persecution is being disguised as religious “freedom.”

In the theme of the American constitution and the Bill of Rights; your rights end where another’s begin.
American citizens have the right to bear arms, but not the freedom to use them indiscriminately on others. Americans have the right to free speech, but not the freedom to force others to listen to what they have to say. 

Religious groups have the right to believe women are only worth half as much as men, but they do not have the freedom to negatively influence the lives of others because of their own beliefs.

One cannot act without restraint or consideration of others just because they declare its part of their religion. Religious freedoms, like all individual freedoms have limits; when they begin to affect others.

Our world already bears the scars of religious freedoms without limits: the Shoah, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Witch-hunt’s. Seriously? Witches?

Religious men who lack confidence are threatened by independent women who control their own sexuality. The notion of “evil” women with powers beyond men’s control appeared during the Witch Trials, yet still seems difficult for religious men to overcome.

Maybe a dose of reason can cure this irrational fear of witches, but reason isn’t mandated by Obama’s new coverage plan.

Women have rights to their own bodies, just as men do over their own. And women who control their own sexuality and exercise it freely are not witches. Witches aren’t real.

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