Commentary

An unexpected win for religious freedom

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Bloggers at Daily Kos contributed a wide variety of thoughts about religious freedom and the Day—and noted the interesting work of people far and wide.  The Center for American Progress suggested three ways to celebrate. 

In Utah, the House Minority Leader Brian King (D), supported by a range of religious leaders, announced the introduction of a bill to commemorate Religious Freedom Day which mirrors the national Day.   

And the executive director of the Joint Baptist Committee on Public Affairs took to The Huffington Post to discuss how “Jefferson’s radical Virginia statute created a vital marketplace for religion that must be based on voluntary belief, not government assistance.” 

It is, he said, up to people of faith and their institutions to persuade others of their views, and to “count on government to do no more than to protect our right to do so.”

It would be an understatement to say that the outpouring was broad, diverse, and enthusiastic. 

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Only a few years ago, the idea that the once obscure Religious Freedom Day, commemorating a piece of 18th century state legislation that few beyond history buffs had even heard of, could now attract such interest is astounding.  But maybe it is less astounding that it might seem at first. 

Increasingly people get it that the Christian Right is trying to redefine religious freedom to advance their theocratic political agenda.

We are looking for ways to advance religious freedom on our own terms, with equal treatments for all beliefs and non-beliefs, not the terms dictated by the Catholic Bishops and their allies in conservative evangelicalism. 

We want our religious freedom back.

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