Religious freedom is a powerful and vital right. More than any other right, it dethrones the State, placing it subordinate to the conscience of the individual and the Supreme Being he chooses to acknowledge. This is why the Left cannot stand it – they cannot bear the competition. Only the Party and the State can define meaning – in essence, they want to establish Leftism as State religion, and block the free exercise of any other faith. Social Justice is indeed a jealous god, wrathful and merciless.
That said, there are limits to religious freedom. You cannot claim that heinous crimes are justified by your religion and expect to get away with it – no sacrificing children to Moloch (unless they are aborted fetuses). You need some degree of common sense restrictions – you cannot form the Church of Rockso and claim tax exemption along with having cocaine consumption as a sacrament. This is all common knowledge.
Now for a tougher situation. The Church of Scientology is a fairly small, but extremely rich organization. It does not acknowledge a supreme being, nor does engage in much charitable activity. More than anything else, it resembles a corrupt business selling self-help techniques, while using mental manipulation to control its members. The abuses and cruelties of this organization have been well-documented – there are numerous books, a documentary movie, and even a TV series.
When the Church of Scientology is challenged, they run behind their tax exempt status, which was obtained by a relentless campaign of harassment against the IRS. Eventually, the IRS bowed down before Scientology and its sociopathic leader, granting them a tax exemption. So now the IRS is cast as official arbiter of whether or not some group is a religion. While there is discussion that Donald Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have some interest in changing this, Scientology regularly swats away lawsuits with the stamp of approval they extorted from the US government. How do we work to break the power of this vile organization, without jeopardizing all religious freedom.
If that was a thorny issue, this one is acid-coated razor wire. Political Islam is very tightly related with religious Islam, and Political Islam is blatantly incompatible with Western democracy. Yet there are vast numbers of Muslims who like the good life in the US, and do not want to make women wear sacks and decapitate everyone who disagrees. On the other hand, we see the continuing problem of Sudden Jihad Syndrome. Some scumbag watches some ISIS videos online, then decides to kill as many people as possible.
I understand that some people here think all Muslims need to be expelled from the US. I have had close co-workers who are practicing Muslims, and other Muslim acquaintances (even a guy named Jihad!) and I just can’t square kicking all of them out (much less killing them) with freedom of religion. CAIR and the various other terrorist-hugging mounds of porcine excrement certainly should get treated as enemy agents. I want people facing treason charges and similar treatment to Nazi agents in WWII. That still leaves a lot of people who follow Mecca Islam (to use Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s phrase) and have no real interest in decapitation. Do we need to toss them out? Hell, the Left hates us more than ISIS does. Can we trust that they would not expel Evangelicals if they had the chance?
That said, we do need to be mindful of the people following Medina Islam, and who are inclined to dominate or destroy us. How do we address this problem?