My Face

I just read something in our paper about how supporters of the Chief Justice of Alabama's display of the 10 commandments on state property are claiming that a federal court order to remove the display "violates Christian's freedom of religion"

Before I continue, allow me to give the best example for constitutional freedoms that I know of (the fist swinging one): That is that we all have the freedom to swing our fists as much or as wildly as we want; however, your right to swing your fists ends at my nose. You can swing your fists as much as you want, but you can't hit some one. Freedom of speech has a few limitations which the Supreme Court established in a series of cases. I'm not sure I remember all of them (sorry Mr. History Teacher) but they are: The Incitement Standard (you can't say stuff that will cause imminent lawless action; ie. You can't start a mob.) National Security (You can't say stuff that'll hurt the country's defensive strategy. Treason is lumped in here). Slander (you can't say things that intentionally hurt the reputation of another person when what you say is untrue.) These relate to free speech, but similar judgments exist for the other freedoms.

Back to Alabama and supposedly disenfranchised Christians.

People have a right to believe whatever crazy shit they see fit to believe in. That's freedom of religion and everyone has it. You have the right to believe in a system of morality that guides your actions; however, you cannot claim that by failing to believe as you do, that others are violating your right to believe. For example, I spent some time with a woman who believed that swearing went against her Christianity. Fine, then don't swear; but if I chose swear, I'm not doing a damn thing to infringe on your freedom of religion. Another Example: If your church doesn't believe in performing gay marriage ceremonies, then your church can refuse to perform those ceremonies, but If I want to get married by a judge or by a minister, priest, or rabbi at a church that wants to perform a ceremony for me, then I'm not infringing on your church by getting married. Likewise, if your church doesn't believe in non-procreative sex, then by all means don't have sex without the clear intention of reproducing, but don't tell me what I can and can't do in my bed with my boyfriend. My sex life can not possibly interfere with your religion.

It seems that we have the first definition of unilateral freedom. That having the freedom of religion, or speech, or press allows us to practice our own religion, speech, or press without fearing retribution. We don't have the second part of the definition, which is, that in order to maintain our freedoms we have to continually work to ensure the freedom of all others. That our freedom's aren't truly unilateral, that your right to swing your fist ends at my face.

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