TOTD 2018-07-27: The Limits of Religious Freedom

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?

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16 thoughts on “TOTD 2018-07-27: The Limits of Religious Freedom”

  1. I think for tax status a religion needs to show how they are charitable. If they are a business charging for everything they should pay like a business.

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  2. Should a religion which restricts liberty be given protection? Some cults keep people locked up and use them as slave labor.

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  3. Heinlein [L. Ron Hubbard] started Scientology after his “assisted self-help” parlors were busted for practicing psychology without having any licensed psychologists.

    [Edited per Dime’s correction below.   Thanks, 10 Cents.]

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  4. 10 Cents:
    Good post! How does one draw the line? What constitutes a religion?

    I think the line is what a religion does about apostates.  Islam kills them (or tries to).  Christianity mourns their choice and prays for them.

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  5. MJBubba:
    Heinlein started Scientology after his “assisted self-help” parlors were busted for practicing psychology without having any licensed psychologists.

    L Ron Hubbard is the name, Bubba. 🙂

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  6. Phil Turmel:

    10 Cents:
    Good post! How does one draw the line? What constitutes a religion?

    I think the line is what a religion does about apostates.  Islam kills them (or tries to).  Christianity mourns their choice and prays for them.

    What happened to burning heretics? We don’t see it now but there was some hard things done before in the name of Christianity.

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  7. Churches and religious organizations, should pay taxes.  Why not?  The US Constitution doesn’t mandate exemption. (Though state laws and constitutions do.)  And if NONE of them are exempt, there is no question of “entanglement” or favoring one sect over another.

    To  the extent they are truly engaged in”Purely public charity” meaning relieving the government of some of its burden, there won’t be much surplus revenue anyway.

    But as to Mecca v. Medina Muslims, I think it will have to  be like with the Mormons: we aren’t telling you what to believe, , but we are telling you what to do  if you want to be a part of these United States.  I believe we should not be punishing or prohibiting “pure speech” that is , words, thoughts or beliefs alone, unless some steps however slight are taken toward commission of a crime.

    There were Muslims here before 9/11– though not nearly as many as there are now, and only like less than half as many mosques!( in what other nation in the world could THAT possibly transpire?)   And by and large they were wealthy and well educated.  Nobody cared if their ophthalmologist  was bowing to Mecca 9 times a day or whatever. And as you say, nobody wants to kick that “Episcopalian” Muslim out.  Live ‘n’ let live, says America.

    But why our govt  after 9/11, instead of trying to just cap the American-Muslim population where it was, began a policy of admitting more and more of them and subsidizing the tax free building of huge mosque complexes and “Islamic centers”, where they knew extremism was being preached– boggles the mind.

    Trump is right.  We need fewer of them here. That’s the only solution.

    because as the radical Islamists well know, once they are  here, they can use our own laws against us.  And they have been doing so very successfully, with the collusion of our own government under both Bush 2 and Buraq Hussein.

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  8. 10 Cents:
    Should a religion which restricts liberty be given protection? Some cults keep people locked up and use them as slave labor.

    Every single religion professes to be “The way”.  So they all preach their own hegemony and thus, contain the seeds of “restriction” of other practices.

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  9. Hypatia:

    10 Cents:
    Should a religion which restricts liberty be given protection? Some cults keep people locked up and use them as slave labor.

    Every single religion professes to be “The way”.  So they all preach their own hegemony and thus, contain the seeds of “restriction” of other practices.

    Seeds are not a tree. All belief systems have the seeds to restriction. Some are more committed to freedom of conscience and openness. Others like to separate people by the neck.

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  10. 10 Cents:

    Phil Turmel:

    10 Cents:
    Good post! How does one draw the line? What constitutes a religion?

    I think the line is what a religion does about apostates.  Islam kills them (or tries to).  Christianity mourns their choice and prays for them.

    What happened to burning heretics? We don’t see it now but there was some hard things done before in the name of Christianity.

    So compare.   Violence and forced conversions were always controversial in Christian religion.  There were theological debates.   When feudal thinking was the governing principle, then heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy were akin to treason.   Even so, opponents of violence and coercion had widespread support.   There is a lot to work with in the Bible, where the instructions to kill were specific to a time and place, and the words of peace are given as general rules.   Violence against Pagans broke out in the 370s and was pretty well ended by 400 AD.  Violence regained a foothold in Christianity, I think in reaction to the onslaught by the Muslims.   The party of peace eventually won the day, coming to ascendancy after the European wars of religion that followed the Reformation.

    Contrast this with Islam.   The Quran gives general instructions for killing and violence.  It also has famous verses of peace.  But the interpretation according to the Hadith is to consider the verses of peace to be specific to a time and place, while the verses of killing and subjugation are general rules.   Violent jihad was not controversial until after Muslims encountered British religious tolerance rules about two hundred years ago.   They have centuries of theological development of violent jihad, with little in the way of countervailing writings.   The Muslims are in agreement (with a small handful of dissenters) that the general rule for apostasy is punishment by death, and the controversy is over what circumstances allow you to set that practice aside.

    Which religion would you want to come into dominance in your politics ?

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  11. Hypatia:
    Churches and religious organizations, should pay taxes.  Why not?  The US Constitution doesn’t mandate exemption. (Though state laws and constitutions do.)  And if NONE of them are exempt, there is no question of “entanglement” or favoring one sect over another.

    To  the extent they are truly engaged in”Purely public charity” meaning relieving the government of some of its burden, there won’t be much surplus revenue anyway.

    But as to Mecca v. Medina Muslims, I think it will have to  be like with the Mormons: we aren’t telling you what to believe, , but we are telling you what to do  if you want to be a part of these United States.  I believe we should not be punishing or prohibiting “pure speech” that is , words, thoughts or beliefs alone, unless some steps however slight are taken toward commission of a crime.

    There were Muslims here before 9/11– though not nearly as many as there are now, and only like less than half as many mosques!( in what other nation in the world could THAT possibly transpire?)   And by and large they were wealthy and well educated.  Nobody cared if their ophthalmologist  was bowing to Mecca 9 times a day or whatever. And as you say, nobody wants to kick that “Episcopalian” Muslim out.  Live ‘n’ let live, says America.

    But why our govt  after 9/11, instead of trying to just cap the American-Muslim population where it was, began a policy of admitting more and more of them and subsidizing the tax free building of huge mosque complexes and “Islamic centers”, where they knew extremism was being preached– boggles the mind.

    Trump is right.  We need fewer of them here. That’s the only solution.

    because as the radical Islamists well know, once they are  here, they can use our own laws against us.  And they have been doing so very successfully, with the collusion of our own government under both Bush 2 and Buraq Hussein.

    They are tax-exempt because of the 1st amendment. It prevents the state from coercing religious organizations to “preach” what the state wants them to by taxing them heavier if they don’t.

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  12. The Sinistral Bassist:

    Hypatia:
    Churches and religious organizations, should pay taxes.  Why not?  The US Constitution doesn’t mandate exemption. (Though state laws and constitutions do.)  And if NONE of them are exempt, there is no question of “entanglement” or favoring one sect over another.

    To  the extent they are truly engaged in”Purely public charity” meaning relieving the government of some of its burden, there won’t be much surplus revenue anyway.

    But as to Mecca v. Medina Muslims, I think it will have to  be like with the Mormons: we aren’t telling you what to believe, , but we are telling you what to do  if you want to be a part of these United States.  I believe we should not be punishing or prohibiting “pure speech” that is , words, thoughts or beliefs alone, unless some steps however slight are taken toward commission of a crime.

    There were Muslims here before 9/11– though not nearly as many as there are now, and only like less than half as many mosques!( in what other nation in the world could THAT possibly transpire?)   And by and large they were wealthy and well educated.  Nobody cared if their ophthalmologist  was bowing to Mecca 9 times a day or whatever. And as you say, nobody wants to kick that “Episcopalian” Muslim out.  Live ‘n’ let live, says America.

    But why our govt  after 9/11, instead of trying to just cap the American-Muslim population where it was, began a policy of admitting more and more of them and subsidizing the tax free building of huge mosque complexes and “Islamic centers”, where they knew extremism was being preached– boggles the mind.

    Trump is right.  We need fewer of them here. That’s the only solution.

    because as the radical Islamists well know, once they are  here, they can use our own laws against us.  And they have been doing so very successfully, with the collusion of our own government under both Bush 2 and Buraq Hussein.

    They are tax-exempt because of the 1st amendment. It prevents the state from coercing religious organizations to “preach” what the state wants them to by taxing them heavier if they don’t.

    That doesn’t make sense.  The constitution requires taxes to be uniform on the same class of subjects.  I agree that taxing Presbyterian churches but not mosques, f’rinstance, would violate the 1st.  But taxing all houses of worship wouldn’t.

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  13. Wow, what a great post!  So many good questions — so many competing ideas.

    I’ve on occasion I’ve tried to answer some of the questions for myself, never got too far with the answers.

    I usually give up and resort to “keep it simple”.   The State must be governed by secular law.  Period.  Sexual assault on a child = prison, don’t care if you are a ‘priest’.  Honor killings = prison, don’t care if your sister is a bimbo.  If the secular law impinges on your religious practices you have two choices:  change your religious practices or go live somewhere else.

    That said, I am a, seriously small government kind of gal and think we should have very few non-negotiable laws.   Don’t kill.  Don’t steal.  Don’t tell bear false witness.  Individual property rights.  Not sure the government should be, as a rule be in the welfare business (a from of slavery in my book) or the morality business.

    I can’t even begin to think about taxes other than ‘use’ and ‘property’ taxes (I still think of income taxation as a form of labor slavery).  Don’t think religious organizations should be tax-free beyond amounts a CPA certifies were spent on an approved and very well defined/limited list of  public good activities.   One contradiction in my thinking is that children should attend government provided classes covering government functions, governing laws, history, civics, geography, personal responsibility, etc., and [edit:these particular classes] should be taught by government paid educators if they go to parochial/private schools.

    Hmmm.  Re-reading the above, I’m thinking my thoughts may be just a little outside the accepted norm on this post so I’ll just lurk about and see what I can learn.

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