Tag Archives: religious freedom

How the free market overcomes religious coercion in Israel

Source: Students For Liberty
by Idan Eretz

“State-religion relations are a tough issue in Israel. Israelis come from very different religious backgrounds; from totally secular atheists to hardline ultra-orthodox and everything in between; and that’s only the Jews. This creates a lot of tension about the 70 year old compromise called ‘The Status Quo.’ But in recent weeks, without any political action, something happened. Something big.” (05/22/17)


Stephen Fry and the new blasphemy laws

Source: spiked
by Andrew Doyle

“I love a good blasphemy trial. Unfortunately they’re about as common these days as red squirrels or UKIP councillors. Imagine my delight, therefore, when police in Ireland decided to launch an investigation into Stephen Fry for remarks he made about the almighty deity during an televised interview for RTE in early 2015. During the course of the programme Fry expressed the view that if God exists he must be ‘utterly, utterly evil,’ ‘totally selfish,’ and ‘quite clearly a maniac.’ ‘Why,’ Fry asked, ‘should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?’ … The Irish authorities have now made clear they won’t be pursuing Fry, and it’s easy to see why. The case would be over in five minutes. All Fry’s defence would have to establish is that we no longer live in a society which should be subject to medieval canon law. A copy of this year’s calendar ought to do the trick. Even so, a trial would be a wonderful thing.” (05/09/17)


On churches in politics, Trump does … nothing

Source: Reason
by Steve Chapman

“In the executive order he signed Thursday titled ‘Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,’ Donald Trump had a rare opportunity to pursue a small yet significant change that would have accomplished both of his stated purposes. Instead, he ceremoniously unveiled a heaping platter of nothingburgers.” (05/08/17)


Russia: Court bans Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremist group

Source: USA Today

“Russia’s Supreme Court formally banned Jehovah’s Witnesses as an extremist organization Thursday and ordered the state to seize its property in Russia, according to Russian news media. The court, after six days of hearings, ordered the closing of the group’s Russia headquarters and its 395 local chapters. The Interfax news agency quoted Justice Ministry attorney Svetlana Borisova in court as saying the Jehovah’s Witnesses pose a threat to Russians. ‘They pose a threat to the rights of the citizens, public order and public security,’ she told the court. Borisova also said the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ opposition to blood transfusions violates Russian health care laws.” (04/20/17)



Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“Those who are true followers of Jesus Christ do NOT use the government, or advocate the use of government and military force to act against people of other religions. We do have an example of Paul getting government assistance to protect himself from those of another religion who wanted to kill him, but we have no example in the Bible, or for the first several hundred years, of those who claimed to be christian, demanding that government pass laws and take actions against those who practiced things which they believed either to be sinful or damaging to society. It is obvious that those in DC, Vermont, and elsewhere, who banned the practice of polygamy, stole properties from the LDS church, imprisoned those who committed polygamy were (despite their claims otherwise) NOT christians as defined by the Bible, and usually not even by their various religious affiliations.” (03/24/17)


Christians started the wedding wars

Source: Reason
by Stephanie Slade

“The idea that the Constitution protects only what happens between a person’s ears isn’t novel. It has roots in a series of laws, and the Supreme Court decisions that upheld them, from 1862 through 1890. The goal at the time was to rein in a new and dangerous-seeming religious movement called Mormonism by criminalizing its most eccentric practice: polygamy. But by claiming the right to regulate the behavior of people of faith, mainstream believers set the stage for the modern political left to step in and regulate them — and to have 150 years’ worth of precedents on their side when they did it.” (for publication 04/17)


Oh dear! Theocracy is just around the corner

Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“Restating a campaign promise, the new Massa recently announced –– at a PRAYER BREAKFAST, of all things — that he intends to ‘destroy’ the Johnson Amendment. … It is particularly galling to see some ‘libertarians’ panic about this. … Even though (I’m told) most libertarians utterly despise and reject religion, it is a basic tenet of libertarianism that people have a right (whether God-given or not) to speak what they will. Without being punished for it. And secondly, another fundamental concept of libertarianism (as I was taught) is that being exempt from taxes is NOT a special privilege but instead a step in the right direction towards getting rid of the legalized theft of money from people and their voluntary associations. The Johnson Amendment violates both of these principles.” (02/14/17)


Reform to protect religious liberty

Source: Cato Institute
by Doug Bandow

“President Donald Trump set off yet another political firestorm when he promised to ‘totally destroy’ the Johnson Amendment, which bars ministers from endorsing candidates from the pulpit. Doing so risks their churches’ tax exemption. The provision was advanced by Sen. (and later President) Lyndon Johnson and applies to all 501(c)(3) organizations. Many ministers have long objected to what they view as a violation of their religious liberty. In fact, many African-American churches, for historical and cultural reasons, are more politically active and often ignore the restrictions with little consequence. Both opponents and supporters tend to overstate the measure’s importance.” (02/10/17)


Austria: Regime bans veils in “public places”

Source: Fox News

“Following in the footsteps of other countries, Austria is set to prohibit the use of Islamic full-face veils in courts, schools and other ‘public places.’ Chancellor Christian Kern said Monday the new measures approved by a coalition of Social Democrats and the centrist People’s party are an effort of countering the rise of the far-right Freedom Party, which has witnessed a surge in support that resulted in the party’s presidential candidate nearly winning the election in December. ‘We believe in an open society that is also based on open communication. Full-body veils in public spaces stand against that and will therefore be prohibited,’ said the text of the coalition agreement published on Monday.” [editor’s note: Because nothing says “open society” like closing society off to people whose religion you don’t like – TLK] (01/31/17)


Parking spaces and property rights

Source: LewRockwell.com
by Laurence M Vance

“What do parking spaces have to do with property rights? Everything. The Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, ‘dedicated to providing Islamic religious, educational, cultural and social services to Muslims living or working in Somerset Hills and the surrounding areas,’ last year sued Bernards Township, New Jersey, several months after its application to build a mosque was denied after more than three years and thirty-nine public hearings. The stated issue was parking spaces. The township argued that it was ‘completely appropriate to insist a mosque provide more off-street parking than a comparably sized church or synagogue because of its unique worship times and traditions.’ The Islamic Society’s attorney argued that ‘parking requirements were the tool municipalities used to thwart construction of mosques.'” (01/10/17)