Friday, May 7, 2010

Religious Freedom v. Religious Privilege

This whole National Day of Prayer thing is generating some very amusing whining from the usual suspects.

The National Day of Prayer has a rich history and heritage. How sad it is in our politically correct age that we are no longer spiritually tolerant. The controversy generated by the Pentagon’s disinviting Franklin Graham and the entire National Day of Prayer Task Force is both un-American and unnecessary. Graham has expressed his opinion on the danger of embracing the teaching of Islam concerning jihad and the death of infidels. Not once has he or anyone on the National Day of Prayer Task Force suggested that Muslims be excluded from First Amendment protections against the prohibiting of the exercise of their religion.

The same First Amendment to the Constitution which prohibits Congress from making any law that establishes a particular religion or prohibits the free exercise thereof also protects Franklin Graham’s right of free speech to express his opinion about Islamic fundamentalism.

First of all, lots of things have "rich history and heritage" in the United States, including slavery.

More central to this post is that whether or not we have a mandated day of prayer is irrelevant to religious freedom. You have, just as you did before, the right to worship anything you want, including Yhwh, Jesus, Al'lah, Odin, Dionysus and my socks. You also have, just as you did before, the right to pray any time you want. No one can stop you.

What this guy is feeling the loss of isn't the right to pray, it is the privilege of having a Day just for people who pray. It's totally unnecessary, it's exclusionary to people who don't pray, and a secular government has no business getting involved in religion and prayer. No one has stripped anyone of religious freedom, what has been removed is a tiny portion of religion privilege. Seriously, cry me a river.

As for Franklin Graham, he is indeed allowed to state any opinion he wants, including something derogatory towards Muslims. The First Amendment does indeed grant one that right, however, the First Amendment does not protect one from the consequences of one's speech. If I walk up to my (Jewish) boss and start saying extremely derogatory things about Jews, I certainly have the right to do so, and he has a right to fire my ass for doing so. Mr. Graham has the right to say whatever he wants, and the Pentagon has the right to make sure he doesn't say it with their support.

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