Saturday, January 9, 2016

Surprise - Many Americans Have No Idea of What Religious Freedom Is!

Although it comes as no surprise to me, an Associated Press - NORC poll released in December 2015 indicates that many Americans see "Freedom of Religion" as something quite different than our Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights intended and different from what Webster's Dictionary and ordinary common sense would lead you to conclude.

From the report: "Americans place a higher priority on preserving the religious freedom of Christians than for other faith groups, ranking Muslims as the least deserving of the protections, according to a new survey.  Solid majorities said it was extremely or very important for the U.S. to uphold religious freedom in general. However, the percentages varied dramatically when respondents were asked about specific faith traditions, according to a poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research."  Go to the web site linked above for details.

The problem as I have noticed for a very long time is that many persons confuse "Religious Freedom" with "Religious Privilege."  To many, they believe that their religious beliefs should override the rights of others, even including those who do not share their religious beliefs.  Many people actually think that the  rights of gay persons should be subject to their religious beliefs even if those gay persons do not share their religious beliefs.  How is this "religious freedom" to gay persons?  The answer is, of course, it is not Religious Freedom; it is Religious Privilege for those who want to dominate and impose their beliefs on others.  It is Freedom only if it is Freedom for all of us.

The media has difficulty in reporting this kind of news even though it explains a great deal.  The explanation is that  much of the General Public does not know what it is talking about - they are either stupid or ignorant, willfully or not, or just plain selfish.  There is no pleasant explanation.

This conflating of freedom and privilege for many explains how a Donald Trump can rise to the top of the polls while targeting Muslims (or Mexicans, the disabled or women) while at the same time promising that when he is President, everyone  will be saying "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays."  Yup, Religious Privilege is what so many crave, not Religious Freedom.

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