Why Religious Freedom Should Matter to Absolutely Everyone
by Mikel Del Rosario
Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Society
Why should religious freedom matter to everyone? Because the value we put on religious liberty shows how much we really care about freedom. If you’re going to be able to work for the common good—with people from all sorts of backgrounds—the law has got to protect your freedom to live by your convictions.
But what is religious freedom? Religious freedom is a civil right that comes from God, not the government. Why should it matter even to people who aren’t religious? Because religious freedom upholds freedom of conscience for both religious and non-religious people.
What is Religious Freedom?
Religious freedom is a civil right which doesn’t ultimately come from the government. The founders of our nation knew this. All they did was recognize the rights God already gave us. That’s why they wrote The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution–to protect our intrinsic rights from being infringed upon by the federal government.
Having religious freedom doesn’t just mean you have the right to believe certain religious claims are true. It also means having the freedom to live according to your convictions in everyday life–not just while you’re sitting in your house or in church. Our founders said no government had the right to take religious freedom away. That’s what the opening section of the Declaration of Independence is all about. The idea that God, not the government, grants us religious freedom is one of the key ideas our system of government was built on.
So, religious freedom means the right to both believe and act on our beliefs in society. But how does the law relate to the freedoms of our non-religious friends and neighbors?
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