Freedoms: Part II

Do we have the right to disagree? Can we allow others to disagree based on personal religious ethics? Is this damaging to the whole?

At this point, please do not send me comments about how I clearly hate the transgendered community, or how religious extremists like me make you sick. I appreciate your right to express your opinion, but you must appreciate my right to be free of insults.

One of my favorite authors mentions in one of his famous books about the basis of morality, and how we must all be familiar with the concept. He reasons (and I’m paraphrasing) that Tom may feel uninhibited to act however he chooses to strangers and passersby alike, but as soon as the same treatment is bestowed on Tom, he cries “Foul!”

With this in mind, we must turn to the questions at the beginning of this post. The First Amendment gives Tom the right to speak his thoughts without censor from the government, and in regards to his own personal beliefs without insults from others. However, Tom is not the only citizen in the U.S. In fact, he may have–and exercise–this right, but so do the thousands of others who share the country.

What, then, is democracy? Many will answer that it is the will of the people. I would add that democracy is in fact the will of the majority of the people. This means that one faction/group cannot (lawfully) impose their views on the whole unless all citizens vote those views in. With this in mind, is it constitutional for governments to overturn state-voted bills because the government does not approve, or force religious institutions to uphold laws with which they ethically disagree? By no means. The state has its own sovereignty, and religious institutions have a right to their set of beliefs, as shown in the amendment that “Congress shall make no law…”

Hurling insults at those who subscribe to a different opinion is also unconstitutional. If Hobby Lobby chooses not to provide four abortifacients out of a list of 20-some birth control options that they do provide (for free, no less) based on the store owner’s personal religious convictions, they should be applauded for believing in something so strongly they were willing to face persecution by peers. Hobby Lobby is not prohibiting employees from seeking abortifacients anywhere else; they simply choose not to provide them. And that is their right, as a private family-owned chain.

If three universities ask to be exempt from a government-mandated law based on religious ethics, is the case much different? They are not forcing people to apply to their schools, nor are they refusing people to change schools. In this country, we have the right to choose…differently, especially if we disagree.

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