The discussion of religious freedom which is so prominent in our recent news cycle strikes me as decidedly one sided. The sole aspect of religious freedom that has been addressed is the need to protect the church from the control of the government. The abuse that is completely overlooked, but is most definitely a part of real religious freedom, is the abuse of the individual by the church and its followers.
Any student of our history knows that what motivated our founders to stipulate freedom of religion as a basic right was their near experience with the tyranny of institutional religions in
In typical fashion, today's brouhaha about the eroding of religious freedom is a diversion created by organized religion and driven by their insistence that they remain free to limit individual religious freedom. What we need is a discussion of the rights of the unorthodox and irreligious, the vast majority of Americans.
Despite what we may hear out of the church or its political allies, freedom of religion does, in fact, mean freedom from religion. Freedom of and from religion is nothing more or less than the elimination of coercion in the name of religion. A faith that can't or won't impel people by its persuasive example of life well lived is not worthy of the freedom of serious attention.