Is there a Freedom "From" Religion?
Is there a freedom "from" religion? Yes, there is....if you believe in magic.....
Magic is a wonderful thing, especially for a child. He can spend hours watching a skilled magician create things, like coins and rabbits, from nothing. Of course, he probably knows it’s a trick, but that doesn’t matter: children (yes, even adults) are fascinated that they can be fooled, that their senses can be misdirected so easily.
We can be wowed by a skilled magician. However, young and old, we don’t like being tricked when we believe we’re getting the real deal. Cold fusion, pyramid/ponzi schemes, the "cookie diet," and let’s not forget that e-mail from some guy in Nigeria named Mr. Mombolisi Olglabombolassi—these scams leave us feeling humiliated if we’ve fallen for them.
Those that act in the name of religion have especially been notorious in deceiving the faithful with every type of scam conceivable. Big name preachers get in trouble and some go to jail because of their frauds against the faithful.
But while Elmer Gantrys abound, there are a number of scams conducted by atheists. One such notorious whopper is a fraud concocted by atheists against the Constitution called the “Freedom from Religion.”
The Freedom from Religion and the Constitution
I’ve heard enough atheists to stuff an elevator say, “the First Amendment guarantees Americans the freedom from religion.” There’s even a “Freedom from Religion Foundation” that’s supposed to protect America’s right to a freedom from religion. Currently, these zombies are trying to shut down the National Day of Prayer.
Is there such as thing as a freedom from religion? I know that there's a general freedom for the exercise of religion—that’s in the First Amendment to the Constitution which reads that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” However, the Constitution says nothing about a freedom from religion. So, how do you get a freedom from religion out of the freedom of religion?
Well, you can’t legitimately; you’ll have to create it from nothing, and that’s what we call “magic”: the apparent production of something from nothing. Atheists at organizations like the “Freedom from Religion Foundation” do some serious hocus-pocus by talking about things like a “freedom of unbelief” as if such an animal exists. Don’t let anyone tell you that atheists don’t believe in creation ex nihilo because it’s not true. Atheists use intangible entities such as words, and create a constitutional right out of nothing. And what atheists have been able to do with a nonentity like the “freedom from religion” is truly miraculous.
But while it may be miraculous, it’s not constitutional. Apparently, atheists think that if they torture the First Amendment with their perpetual ranting, it will give up and say whatever they want it to say. But, wringing a meaning from the First Amendment is still a forced confession and no amount of legal gymnastics is going to get a right to unbelief out of the Constitution.
You have to give the ACLU credit; they’ve figured out how the courts operate. They know that the courts may be the granite-like “Guardians of the Constitution,” but they’re not unmovable. If you push them long enough, they’ll budge. The ACLU figured out years ago that if they continually inundate both society and the courts with court cases of a certain variety, they can push the law in their direction. They have had the staying power over the years to slowly see the law move their way. Their efforts have resulted in greater freedom for some (like Nazis, terrorists, and child pornographers) and a loss of freedom for others (like Christian believers). As an example, they have pushed the Supreme Court to accept the idea that a passive display of the Ten Commandments is an "establishment of religion." The problem with this interpretation is that it has nothing to do with what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they were prohibiting laws that respected an establishment of religion. This is the kind of legal wordsmithing that occurs when judges think that their words provide the meaning for the Constitution. In an earlier article, I addressed the problem of judges thinking that their decisions decide the meaning of the Constitution.
“But, don’t you think that people have a right to choose to believe or not believe”?
First of all, the Constitution does not address “belief,” which is an idea held to be true; the Constitution addresses “religion” which the founders defined as “the duty that we owe to God and the manner of discharging that duty.” Government should target wrong acts, not beliefs. As such, government has no jurisdiction over belief, so there is no practice to protect. However, when it comes to speaking, writing controversial statements, assembling to affect political change, and practicing one’s faith, the framers felt that these activities, especially as they relate to government, should be protected. Such actions receive the status of a “right” that needs special protection since they are both essential to a free society, yet have often been suppressed by tyrannical governments.
Second, asking me whether or not I think that people have a right to "not believe" is like asking me if people have a right to “not speak” or a right to “not assemble”? Constitutional protections are for actions, not inaction. You can’t protect a word not spoken, a sentence not written, or a practice not exercised. The Constitution protects words spoken and sentences written and groups that assemble and religious exercises that are practiced. You can’t protect a “non exercise of religion” any more than you can protect “non speech.” Such rhetorical gymnastics trivialize those actual freedoms that are provided under the Constitution.
Another way of putting it, you can’t have a right to inactivity. If this were true then no one would be more in need of rights protection than the inactive occupants at your local graveyard.
I suppose those people that think that we have a “freedom from religion” will be starting a “Freedom from Speech Coalition” next week, a place where those who are doing their unbelieving and their unassembling can refuse to gather and not discuss their right to not speak.
How do you practice unbelief, let alone defend it? What if I told you that “the First Amendment protects my right of non speech”? Could you have a right of non speaking about your non religion? I wish more of the trolls at Huff-a-Ton Post would exercise their right to non speech about their non religion. Perhaps we could get another organization going called the “Not Speaking about My Non Religion Foundation.” After all, those that don’t speak about their non belief have a right to be heard.
And why should we stop with these unactivities? Why not other negative rights to go along with these beauties? Why not a right to unkeep and unbear arms?
Unbelievers have no more protection under the Constitution as an “unbeliever” than I have for being “left-handed” (pardon me....."unrighthanded"). As a person, I have certain protections regardless of what hand I use. Similarly, an unbeliever has certain constitutional protections regardless of what he believes, but he has no constitutional protection for what he "non-believes."
Why does the atheist brigade participate in such inanity? For some, I suppose it could be mental instability, for others, parroting what they’ve heard. My suspicion is that they see Christian hegemony in government and society at-large and, like people that see conspiracies everywhere, they’re myopic about it. You can ask them what their reasons are, but don’t expect a satisfactory answer.
If you’ve been fooled by this silliness, don’t despair; most of us have. However, once you stop and listen to what they’re saying, you can see how inane it is. If you think about it, there’s something mental about defining yourself by what you’re not. I’m not a woman, a Sikh, or right-handed. I don’t go around claiming that there are constitutional rights for being an unwoman, a non-Sikh, or unright-handed. And there are no clubs for me to join to generate camaraderie with my fellow non-Sikhs. No polite luncheons and conferences for me to attend. And if anyone is prejudiced under the Constitution, it’s not the unbelievers, it’s us south-paws.
© 2011 William R Bowen Jr