Why Freedom of Belief Is So Important

userpic=schmuckThe response to my post of yesterday regarding Starbucks, the Red Cups, and Christian Privilege (at least on Facebook) has been tremendous, if not a little off-point: over 83 likes, over 33 shares, and lots and lots of comments. I was thinking about it over lunch, and about the movement in our country by some Christian groups to bring God more into the discussion, to have laws that are more in-line with biblical teaching.

To me, that is the absolute wrong thing to do, and will destroy what is special about America. I understand the fears behind the laws, especially as these folk see Islam rising in other countries, and they see more and more people with strongly different beliefs. I understand they are scared and that they believe there is a “war on Christianity” — an attempt to wipe out Christmas and other holidays.

C’mon. Retailers will never let that happen.

Seriously, however, what keeps America strong and special is precisely its freedom of belief, and freedom from government imposed belief. I do not believe that any other country has this. Everyone in America has the right to their beliefs (or non-beliefs) and to observe them as they see fit. If the government does things right, it will not force a belief on you, will not prevent you from holding your beliefs and worshipping how you will, and it will ensure that one person’s beliefs do not infringe on another’s beliefs. It is on this latter point that we have been failing miserably of late, falling into the Christian notion of “If I believe an action is a sin, not only do I have to not do it, I have to prevent you from doing it as well”.

By strongly ensuring that every individual can believe as they wish, and does not have the right to impose their belief on anyone else, we keep this country strong. We not only ensure that people are free to practice Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, FSM, atheism, or any other belief system, but we ensure that any belief system cannot take over the country. Enforcing Christian morals and practice on non-Christians through law or policy is just as bad as in Islamic countries, where Islamic morals and practices are enforced on non-Muslims through law or policy.

So, tying back to yesterday: I don’t care what designs are on Starbucks cups. They are free to observe — or not observe — holidays that occur during the winter season as anyone else, in whatever fashion they want.