Agreed that freedom from religion is not identical to freedom of religion.

Rather, freedom from religion is a subset of freedom of religion.

The way I understand it, freedom of religion implies freedom to follow any religion you want (or even several different ones) including null religion if that is your choice.

In other words, Live and let live.

By the way, freedom of religion is a very good thing!

Suppose the government decided to make my religion the official religion of the United States. Would I rejoice?

No!!!

I would fight to my last breath to stop them!

Why?

Because allowing the government to make my religion official would implicitly allow the next government to persecute my religion.

I spent 29 years in Communist Czechoslovakia where religion was persecuted by the government. All of us Christians (yes, I used to be a Christian) who were upset about how they could dare persecute us needed to be reminded it was our ancestors, who hailed Constantine the Great, Emperror of Rome for giving Christianity preferential treatment, that implicitly allowed the Communists of 16 centuries later to persecute, even kill Christians (and, technically, all other religions).

So, let's keep the Bibles out of the court rooms, and the Ten Commandments out of government buildings.

okay, I'm going to have to make an important distinction here. There are (for the sake of this argument) two broad categories: "the random religious layman"(and political supporters) and "the science head".

Here's the deal: I already think the random american citizen is an uninformed, easily manipulated yahoo, raised by the electronic nipple. It's not their fault--and they can be saved. (But the politicians know this is a really big lever with which to move the populace.) Now, the other side of the coin: the science heads are people who's reasoning and general desire for education I respect. Unfortunately, people that have gone pro-science, seem to have continued on to reflexive skepticism. Reflexive anything (knee-jerk anything) is bad, whether that be reflexive rejection of anything varying from God's word to reflexive rejection of anything that can't be measured.

Let me try to pull this back together and get to my point: When I was thirteen, I rejected religion (it's nice to reject the default), then when I was twenty-eight, I rejected the absolutism of science. Why? Because, within the circles of silicon valley culture, that is the unthinking, jingoistic default. Maybe I'm just one of those nonconformists for freedom.

Okay, that wasn't my point, let me try again: within the young technical intelligencia, there's a fairly strong anti-religious evangelism. I understand evangelism. It's a damn shame, but one has to be pretty damned enlightened to be over it, whether you believe in Jesus, Baal, Satan, the elvis refernce or the infinite self.

Most people complaining about the United States coming close to, or even having already, declaring atheism as a state religion seem to forget a couple key points. Atheism is not a religion, and secularism is not atheism.

Showing no preference on the issue of religion is not the same as being against it. I haven't seen a single ruling from the Supreme Court that is anti-religion. And don't even suggest that the government is in some manner anti-religious. Does the National Day of Prayer attack religion? I don't think so, and there is no equivalent for people who are not religious. I personally think that government endorsement of it is government endorsement of religion over non-religion. It's as if they're encouraging people to be believers.

For every example you could possibly come up with showing that America is somehow encouraging atheism, I can show you many more on the other side.

Next you'll be complaining about life in our anti-Christian America.

VT Hawkeye makes a good point when he says that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion. However, his underlying assumption is dead wrong. There is no Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.

To understand why this is, consider the worst-case scenario. If I had a constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, I could start my own Cult of Mr. T, in which the First Commandment would be "Thou Shalt Kill." The Supreme Court, guided by the Consitution, would be compelled to rule in my cult's favor and protect our right to kill whomever we pleased. This would not be a good thing.

In real life, of course, this never happens. Rastafarians, for example have their freedom of religion trampled upon (and unfairly, in my opinion) because their religious practices violate our laws. The reason this can happen is because of the actual wording of the part of the First Amendment that deals with religion. "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion." In other words, it is imperative upon our government to strip all religious overtones and influences from its actions. In the United States of America, as far as the government is concerned, we all have the inviolable right to freedom from religion. Period.

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