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elbanditoroso's avatar

Does religion need to be protected?

Asked by elbanditoroso (30906points) November 28th, 2020

I’ve been reading about the Supreme Court’s middle-of-the-night decision striking down limits on church and synagogue attendance (due to COVID and proximity to infectious people).

The ‘rationale’ that was given was that the right to religious freedom and practice outweighs the states’ rights to protect their citizens.

Why does religion need protection? Can’t it – shouldn’t it – stand on its own?

Does your belief in whatever god you choose give you the right to infect me? Is fundamentalist Christianity now a license to kill? Couldn’t a fervent Sunni muslim claim the right to set of bombs in defense of Allah?

Back to my point – if religious freedom is so important that peoples’ safety is meaningless, then where does it end? Can extremist religions kill any of us at their own whim?

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24 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

I think your question has several parts. Religious Freedom DOES need to be protected. As we can see by recent actions, government officials will try curtailing the rights to gather in a heartbeat but not stop protests which fall under the same protection. So the protection IS needed.
The next part involves personal rights and responsibilities. You kinda ran a bunch of things together. People’s safety instead of attending church or they might infect you, etc, etc. I’m a pretty firm believer that with every right comes a certain responsibility. If my church is opening up for meetings and I choose to attend, I am assuming the responsibility that I may get sick. My personal rights should allow me to make that choice. We are not and cannot be a nanny state where we protect every single person from every single threat they may encounter in their lives.
If someone is sick, you personally are not really under any greater threat than you were before. Most places you go to have criteria of wearing masks and social distancing. If you haven’t gotten sick so far, the chances are you won’t just because someone went to church.
I would understand the rest of your analogies if a person got sick and knowingly went about trying to infect especially at risk people. But most people are not like that. There were cases decades ago about a person that was diagnosed with HIV and then went on to try infecting as many people as he could. But that is different than if the guy had HIV and didn’t know it and just happened to spread it.

Jeruba's avatar

Religion doesn’t need to be protected. It’s a set of beliefs and practices, and it doesn’t have rights.

But people’s freedom to worship (or not) as they choose should be protected, barring practices that harm others. Human sacrifice is not and should not be a legal right.

You don’t need to assemble in a certain building in order to follow your religious beliefs and practices. Nobody is doing anything to prevent people from believing as they choose and worshipping as they choose. What they are doing is trying to safeguard public health by preventing large unprotected gatherings, which are not a requirement of any religion but Trumpism.

Hamb's avatar

Of course religion needs to be protected here in the US! Religion and religious people are a tiny minority, and need protection. There are only a handful of churches in the US, and they definitely don’t have any money or power. Religious people are the least likely to be elected, and they absolutely never let their religious beliefs affect their legislation. Religious institutions are never tax-exempt, and we never force kids to praise a flag and god throughout their education. There also is not a single religious private school in the country.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well the freedom to practice any religion you want should be protected.
The Covid issue is a separate issue. IMO that has nothing to do with religious protection.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

About as much as the rich need huge tax cuts.

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JLeslie's avatar

The right to practice a religion needs to be protected. Basically, what I mean by that is the right to be whatever religion you want without interference or threat from the state.

BUT, big BUT, you cannot practice in a way that causes harm to others. You can’t sacrifice virgins, you can’t do rebirth rituals that result in people suffocating, you can’t withhold necessary medical treatment from your children (that last one is a grey area, but courts will intercede).

Our laws to protect individuals trump religious practice. Always have, always will.

I have said the same to Christians worried about harmful Sharia law in America, just isn’t going to happen. Or, does this court decision get us one step closer to Sharia law having a chance when it never did before?

Edit: I want to add that prohibiting people from entering their places of worship is a problem when there is no good reason to do it. Health is a good reason as long as it is applied equally to all religions and other indoor spaces that are reasonably seen as equal risk. I mean the Jews have a whole holiday they celebrate regarding finally being able to enter the temple again and light the eternal flame.

Demosthenes's avatar

Freedom of religion should always be protected but A) I don’t think it’s under as great of a threat as conservatives would have you believe, per @Hamb‘s satire and B) we’re not necessarily going to agree on what counts as a threat. I, for example, don’t consider it a threat to religious freedom to say that a person shouldn’t be fired for being gay. Others will see it as one.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes it should be protected.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@KNOWITALL given your quote from the constitution, what’s wrong with religious Muslims stabbing me on the street, following the commandments of Allah?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@elbanditoroso There’s legal precedent saying belief is protected, criminal acts are not.

Reynolds v. United States (1879)
The Court examined whether the federal anti-bigamy statute violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, because plural marriage is part of religious practice. It unanimously upheld the federal law banning polygamy, noting that the Free Exercise Clause forbids government from regulating belief, but does allow government to punish activity judged to be criminal, regardless of an activity’s basis in religious belief. (Citation: 98 US 145) BRI e-Lesson Available

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Rough question. Of course no one has a right to commit murder in the name of a God. I do think religion should have some protection though. Call it freedom of conscience if you prefer that term. Maybe it should be left up to the discretion of priests/rabbis/preachers to determine where to gather when to gather and how many worshippers should attend any given service. As long as Covid persists we have to improvise. But the protection has to be extended to all. We can’t have some fanatical government or group deciding they don’t tolerate Catholics or Jews or Fundamentalists, or Muslims for that matter. And how is a Muslim stabbing a Jew or Christian any worse than some moron Christian Fundie targeting a Mosque or Temple? Let’s say that your right to tolerance only extends as far as your tolerance of others.

kritiper's avatar

No! Religion needs to be abolished. It’s almost all BS! (The teachings of Jesus Christ are good rules to live by but otherwise, forget it!)

Dutchess_III's avatar

The question wasn’t about the first amendment @KNOWITALL. The question was “Should religious protection extend to the point of putting others in danger”?

seawulf575's avatar

@kritiper That is a very tyrannical, dictatorial view point. Your belief should be pushed and all others abolished. You must be high up in the leftist hierarchy.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I hear where you’re coming from @kriritiper. But religion is crazy important to some people, so it will be around awhile.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III And the legal language of the Constitution has been ruled on. No protections include criminal acts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Would you consider congregating to be a criminal act?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Up here it is for now @Dutchess_III The Provincial Health officer banned it until we flaten our Covid curve .

Dutchess_III's avatar

Other countries are so much smarter than us.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

@Dutchess_III Smarter,or just less gullible and open to conspiracy theories? Although I’m sure that Billy Bob and Cletus have it all locked down.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Oh don’t be putting yourself down to much we still have idiots holding anti mask rallies, like it goes against their rights and freedoms, one idiot assaulted a walmart employee when he was asked to put a mask on, what a brain surgeon, nothing like getting an assault charge and be banned from walmart just because you don’t want to put a mask on way to get your point out there.

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