Freedom Of Religion Is Obsolete, Superseded, And Harmful

Execution of Jeanne d'Arc at the stake

Freedom of religion was intended to guarantee freedom from governmental persecution because of private beliefs. Today, that freedom has been twisted and perverted into instead creating persecution against individuals, backed up by governmental force. It is time to abolish it as archaic and obsolete, and let the modern freedoms of opinion and speech take its place.

The recent case in the reactionary United States, where the corporation Hobby Lobby was allowed to deny healthcare to its (female) employees based on a reactionary superstitious idea that such healthcare for women should not exist at all, shows how freedom of religion is now used to create governmentally-enforced persecution and oppression, rather than freedom from such persecution and oppression.

In the Middle Ages, a different religion from the king and queen was no different from a subversive political opinion was no different from terrorism, and would get you tortured and killed. After a few centuries of that, “freedom of religion” was established to cement in stone that the government couldn’t persecute you for privately held opinions.

Today, the government doesn’t persecute you no matter whether you are praying for salvation to our All-Seing Allfather Odin on his majestic eight-legged steed, or to His Holy Noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You may even believe that the Earth was created by your invisible friend or that the moon is made of fine cheese, all without persecution from the government. This is covered by freedom of opinion.

Further, freedom of speech makes sure that you have the right to express whatever strange beliefs you hold in whatever form you like (but not on any platform you like or with any audience you like, which is a common misconception: you can’t force anybody to listen to you, nor force anybody else to carry or repeat your expression).

The rights to hold any belief you like and to tell others about that belief are fully covered by the freedoms of opinion and speech. They have completely superseded the original freedom of religion.

You have the complete freedom to believe that the moon is made of Emmenthaler Cheese (freedom of opinion) without being persecuted by the government. You also have the full right to argue with your neighbor, who believes the moon is made of Gouda Cheese instead, about this (freedom of speech), without governmental persecution for doing so.

Your right to hold this belief, however, does absolutely not entitle you to re-label Emmenthaler cheeses at your local supermarket, where you work, as “Authentic Holy Moon Cheese”, and to call in the government to enforce this opinion of yours against your employer’s business. This is how “freedom of religion” is being abused today, and much worse:

  • The abovementioned case where an employer denies healthcare to female employees, using governmental force to back that denial up
  • Employees who refuse to shake hands with female customers (yes, these exist)
  • Abortion nurses who refuse to perform abortions “for beliefs”, including when lives are at risk
  • People who refuse to work with X (lotteries, pork, hot dogs, whatever) because of “beliefs” and demand to stay on unemployment benefits instead (note: refusing a job offer while on unemployment insurance normally ends your right to further unemployment benefits)
  • Refusal to follow hygiene procedures in food/healthcare because of “beliefs”
  • Teachers who refuse to allow students (citizens!) to critically examine the information they’ve been given
  • Parents who do the same to their children (also citizens!)
  • …and don’t get me started on infant/toddler genital mutilation, male and female alike. Your right to believe whatever crazyfuckery you want will never, ever, extend to any insane right to cut into the flesh of another citizen and deliberately remove functional tissue, regardless of DNA similarity.
  • …the list goes on.

Freedom of religion was intended to allow you to believe whatever you wanted. It was never intended to legitimize people behaving like assholes against fellow humans and claiming they have a governmentally-backed right to behave like assholes without consequences, because of some weird opinion they hold.

In particular, freedom of religion was never intended to exempt somebody from the law.

Freedom of Religion is used to persecute individuals once again, using governmental threat of force to back up such persecution. It is time to abolish it in name and concept, and instead let the Freedoms of Opinion and Speech carry on its original intention.

Image: midsection of the painting “The Execution of Jeanne d’Arc at the Stake”, Hermann Stilke

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He works as Head of Privacy at the no-log VPN provider Private Internet Access; with his other 40 hours, he's developing an enterprise grade bitcoin wallet and HR system for activism.

Discussion

  1. gurrfield

    If a company behaves as an asshole just refuse to work there and refuse to buy their stuff… Simple enough?

    Haha by the way, wow, they actually call themselves “Hobby Lobby”? That is priceless! How ironic. 😀 Well played :)

    1. Mikael

      So, when a company doesn’t pay taxes, ignores safety regulations, don’t give vacation and force people to work 20h workdays, the government should just turn a blind eye and let it continue?

      Sorry, but if you don’t like the laws for incorporating, then don’t.

      1. gurrfield

        “So, when a company doesn’t pay taxes, ignores safety regulations, don’t give vacation and force people to work 20h workdays”

        Ignoring taxes is not OK. But every company, religious or not seem to be doing their best to try.,.. and many get away with it no matter of what religion they have so I don’t see how that is a freedom of religion issue.

        Who will want to work for a company which has no safety policy and 20 h workdays and refuse to give vacations ?? People working there will have a huge incentive to quit and start somewhere with even slightly better circumstances.

        “Sorry, but if you don’t like the laws for incorporating, then don’t.”

        I most probably won’t, but that is more because of copyright legislation than any of the other mentioned things.

        Problem with laws is that if they are too stiff, they scare away entrepreneurs to legislations which are less stiff. It is difficult to know in exactly what ways todays legislations hinder entrepreneurship and innovation. But some of them surely do.

        1. Biotronic

          > Who will want to work for a company which has no safety policy and 20 h workdays and refuse to give vacations ??

          People who have no other choice, for one. If you’re one of the lucky few, with education, some money so you can wait for the right job, and perhaps the right contacts, then you can just choose not to work there. If it’s the best you can expect to get, well then you work there.

        2. gurrfield

          There’s always a choice of some kind. People tend to start fleeing / emigrating from places with no alternatives, sometimes even risking their lives for it.

        3. voice of reason

          “Problem with laws is that if they are too stiff, they scare away entrepreneurs to legislations which are less stiff. It is difficult to know in exactly what ways todays legislations hinder entrepreneurship and innovation. But some of them surely do.”

          All of them do. Even if a law is harmless by its direct effects, entrepreneurs still need to know it and understand how it applies (or not) to them. Every additional law increases the “know-the-law” barrier to entry.

        4. gurrfield

          voice of reason:

          Yes, all laws can do that.

          But especially monopolistic ones as copyright and patents which are designed to protect old investments of established interests and others which raise the barrier for entry such as too stiff or obsolete safety requirements.

  2. Erwt

    What becomes clear of your arguments is that the state has more control over children that are born on its territory than their parents have. Not sure I feel comfortable with this idea…

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      I am adamant that it is the role of government to protect and uphold the rights of all its citizens, specifically including minors with guardians.

      Yes, that means that parents aren’t allowed to deny their children their rights as citizens.

      1. gurrfield

        Citizens have rights, and children are citizens. Absolutely.

        There is however a big risk of malpractice – and a big cost if malpractice. “The state” is never just one entity. It is built up by people. If the law allows it: people having power over other peoples children.

        There is no end to what suffering a bureaucrat or a couple of ’em in the state can cause by maliciously wielding the law as a weapon against parents (s)he doesn’t like.

        So I must say I agree with Erwt above.

        1. Rick Falkvinge

          people having power over other peoples children

          You are describing children in terms of property. I strongly disagree with this view; children are free citizens. They may be in somebody’s care until the age of majority, but that’s completely different from being “somebody’s child” in the property sense.

        2. Williham

          The point is that children do not in any sense belong to their parents: They are their own property, just like any other citizen.

        3. gurrfield

          Children are not property but their parents have strong biological and mental incentive to care for their kids which no other citizen has.

          At least unless the parents are mentally ill or abusing drugs.

        4. Williham

          Or not.

          Postpartum depression is a condition that may affect as many as 25 % of all new parents; and an analysis from the point of view of evolutionary psychology indicates that the notion of exclusive parenthood might fundamentally be the cause of this condition.

          Consider that for something on the order of a million years, all children were raised communally rather than in a strict family unit, the family aspect appearing roughly simultaneously with the concept of private property around the time of the agricultural revolution (12-10 KYa).

        5. gurrfield

          How does postpartum depression not count as a mental issue?

          I really wasn’t around 13k years ago so I really can’t tell exactly how they lived back then. And I guess you weren’t either.

        6. Williham

          Postpartum depression is not a mental issue; it’s symptomatic of lacking proper community support structures.

          As for what went down 13 KYa, we have all these wonderful tools like archaeology, palaeontology, anthropology, and direct of observation of extant culture in recently-contacted tribes.

          Scientists can, based on evidence, reconstruct a lot about how society was a long time ago, much like a detective would solve a crime.

          Human activity and patterns of activity leave behind evidence, and that evidence can be analysed and understood.

        7. gurrfield

          “Postpartum depression is not a mental issue; it’s symptomatic of lacking proper community support structures.”

          Depression is not a mental issue? There are loads of hormones in action close to the childbirth. As any large shocking change in life can trigger depression, so can childbirth.

          That we didn’t talk about it earlier throughout history doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. It is a much more reasonable explanation that people didn’t talk about it… because it was taboo to talk about it..!

          What do you mean by “support structure”? Many “support structures” exist. We give away our kids to “daycare” or “pre-schooling” today more than ever before.

          “Human activity and patterns of activity leave behind evidence, and that evidence can be analysed and understood.”

          We humans also have a tendency to ignore the parts we don’t like. For instance research made at the start of 20th century found that homosexual activity existed in very many different speices, but that was not a politically correct finding at the time so it was refused at every attempt of publishing.

          It would be naiive to think not the same mechanisms work in other aspects of science or in society at large.

        8. Williham

          First of all, postpartum depression is not the same as clinical depression.

          It has also never been particularly “taboo”; and a wide variety of folk and ritual medicine exists to counter or treat it in various cultures.

          (Suggested reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_depression#Evolutionary_psychology )

          As for your scientist conspiracy hypothesis with regards to evidence of ancient family and society structure; I don’t really understand where you’re coming from.

          Surely such a conspiracy would aim to support the notion of the modern family unit existing through ancient times, as the “politically incorrect” conclusion would be that the nuclear family is a contrivance driven by viewing children as property?

        9. gurrfield

          As comes to birth depression I must say I haven’t read enough about it to discuss it further with you. However I can hardly believe that it has never been taboo that mothers get sick so they can’t or don’t want to care for their children.

          However, it’s clearly not a “conspiracy”, it’s simple social mechanics. If editing is allowed and publishing companies want to make most money from their scientific articles… they may want to aviod the most controversial findings because of the risk of scandals, or the “prestige” of their journal hangs in the balance.

        10. voice of reason

          No Rick. YOU are describing children in terms of property. Government property.

        11. Flubber

          “Scientists can, based on evidence, reconstruct a lot about how society was a long time ago, much like a detective would solve a crime.”

          Needs tweaking

          Scientists can, based on some interpretations of some current evidence, reconstruct some things about how some society was a long time ago in some parts of the world, much like a detective would solve a crime.

        12. frank87

          I agree. “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.
          Arguing about children being property or citizens, hides the fact that children are a special group: They can’t take responsibility (especially the very young ones), so the parents have to take that.

          You can’t expect the parents to take responsibility, if they don’t have any control over them.

          But I think the discussion isn’t about abolishing traditional parenting, but about the definition of child abuse. It’s well accepted that children of abusing parent are taken from their care (and yes, gouvernment abuses this power).

        13. A.F.

          Children have some rights, but they are NOT full citizens until they reach the legal age for each country.

          Why the State has to enforce some rights down the child & parent’s throats, even when they don’t want to apply to those rights?

          The role of the State is to safeguard their citizens’ rights, not enforce what it ‘thinks’ is best for them.

          Seriously guys, all that quotes from “scientific studies” is exactly the same thing you mock about “people with invisible friends”.

          Remember the “number of pirates vs. climate change” charts.

      2. voice of reason

        I am adamant that it is the role of parents to protect and uphold the rights of all their children, specifically against the government.

        Yes, that means that government isn’t allowed to deny other people’s children their rights as children.

    2. Wiliham

      Why?

      Why does having similar DNA as a person give you some magical rights over them?

      In particular and in reference to IGM and education; why would siring a child give you a right to fill their head with nonsense or mutilate their body?

      (Yes, from a practical standpoint *someone* has to take care of the children until they grow up, but there’s no particular reason for this someone being related to them in the least.)

      1. gurrfield

        Read the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

        1. Williham

          I have read it, although it has been a while.

          Here’s the thing, tho’: Try and see the book from another perspective.

          Imagine you live in the society depicted, and read a story where marriage is depicted as a property transaction between the father and the husband-to-be of a woman.

          Would you not be horrified?

          It’s a different society, yes; but different doesn’t necessarily mean worse; it just means different.

        2. gurrfield

          Marriage is no longer about “selling” the woman from her dad to her husband and has not been for at least 100 years in the civilized world.

          I don’t think anyone today would want to go back to that. And yet no chemicals needed for people to think so.

        3. Williham

          Except for the bit where it is.

          Archaic property-related traditions like engagement rings, male-only-proposals, fathers giving away the bride at the wedding and the groom-to-be asking the father for permission are alive and well.

        4. gurrfield

          “… fathers giving away the bride at the wedding and the groom-to-be asking the father for permission are alive and well.”

          Not in the civilized parts of the world 😉

        5. Anonymous

          ““… fathers giving away the bride at the wedding and the groom-to-be asking the father for permission are alive and well.”

          Not in the civilized parts of the world ;)”

          You just insulted every father that actually qualifies for the name. Letting your daughter go has nothing to do with selling her, it has everything to do with acknowledging her as a woman and telling her you wish her the best in the life she’s entering.

          But sure, pop a shit-eating smile in there as you state your opinion as fact.

        6. gurrfield

          No I didn’t “insult every father that actually qualifies for the name”. I may however have mocked your traditions or culture.

          The symbolics of handing over the woman completely reeks of unmodern attitudes that women need a strong man to “protect” her and that job is being handed over from the father to the husband.

          “Asking the father for permission” is to believe he has any say in her choice. That attitude is just about non-existant over here. Is it really that common where you are from?

      2. gurrfield

        Well.. define “nonsense”. You may find that it is not very easily defined.

        “Mass-media” and/or internet advertisement will feed their heads with “nonsense” every day even if their parents don’t.

        1. voice of reason

          From the Devil’s Dictionary (google it!):

          ABSURDITY, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion.

          NONSENSE, n. The objections that are urged against this excellent dictionary.

        2. gurrfield

          Haha, I liked the nonsense definition 😀

          It is a little bit like searching for copyright-related words in a dictionary released under copyright. You will rarely find any enlightening description.

          As “publish” for instance can mean not “make publicly availabe” as it does on wikipedia (or at least did, last time I looked) but “prepare smth to be sold ( by the copy )”.

  3. Webster

    A sign that the US was heading down the fuckery way was in 1954 when “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance. That’s when the US shifted from democracy to theocrazy.

  4. Jan Andersen

    Now you are wrong again, Rich. Don’t let it become a bad habit.

    If Hobby Lobby chooses to compensate its workers with a combination of cash and pre-paid health insurance fees, that is something the government should butt out of. It is none of their business – literally. The government should not side with the employees and force Hobby Lobby to redesign the compensation package. Don’t like the job and the hiring contract? Well, don’t sign it.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      It would appear you’re arguing that any corporation should be free to set any conditions it wants for its employees, and that they are free to sell whatever product they want, labeled however they want.

      This is a much larger question than whether they would be allowed to do so by claiming superstitious merits to do so.

      Also, I strongly disagree with that assessment (even though it’s my interpretation of what you’re writing). We have laws curtailing what corporations can and cannot do for very good historical reasons, and this article argues that neither corporations nor private individuals should be exempt from such laws because of the name of their imaginary friend.

      The existence of such laws in the first place is a much larger question, and I’m rather adamant they’re necessary.

      Cheers,
      Rick

      1. Wendy Cockcroft

        What Rick says. No employer ought to be permitted to decide what to remove from a healthcare package. In fact, I’ve never seen a better case made for socialised healthcare than yours, Jan Andersen.

        What a terrifying attitude. It’s like the old class system we used to have here in Britain. you literally could not challenge anyone of higher status than yourself back in the day. In this case, you can’t challenge the lords your employers almighty. All your wombz are belong to them.

        In any case, there’s no such thing as a free market in jobs. More often than not, people are forced by the wolf at their door to take whatever employment they can get.

        1. Alan

          No one is preventing Hobby Lobby employees from obtaining any type of birth control they like. The owners of Hobby Lobby simply does not want to pay for what they consider to be murder. Perhaps you would cheer if your government required you to pay private entities a fee for cleansing Britain of the Irish (with the official understanding that it couldn’t be murder because it’s the Irish), but I would object.

        2. Anonymous

          Employers are required to compensate you for what it costs to survive, get to work, and do your job.

          Anything extra is a bonus they use to encourage you to work for them instead of some other employer. I don’t care whether you like that or not, it’s fact.

          Socialized medicine is acceptable as long as it stays within that bound. A woman (or a man) can live perfectly healthily without having sex, so there’s no logical (as in NOT emotional) reason for an employer to be mandated into paying so that sex is safer from risk of disease and pregnancy than nature intended.

        3. voice of reason

          No employer should be forced to PROVIDE a “healthcare package” in the first place. I am not an idiot. I can buy what I need myself. Just *pay me the damned wage* and I’ll know what to do with it. In money, not in “benefits”.

        4. Anonymous

          The requirement to provide healthcare is absurd, but it is the result of the craziness of the American system that that is the only politically acceptable way to provide universal health coverage. If it makes you happier, think of the US situation as it being funded by a special ring-fenced component of payroll tax.

          Public funding of contraception and abortion makes sense from a welfare POV – in countries with largely socialised healthcare, the differences is purely administrative, but the US is a special case. Children are hideously expensive, and unwanted children who are disproportionately likely to be badly raised are especially expensive, and that’s before you start considering broader effects on society.

  5. Jan Andersen

    Rich, do you believe that rights goes hand in hand with responsibility?

    We can all agree that children are citizens. The question is, do they automatically have the same set of rights as every other citizens? We don’t give children the same rights to sign a contract or jump in bed with any partner of their choice, because we don’t trust their judgement in matters with far- consequences. And we do not hold children responsible for their actions to the same degree as with adults. We write off many “foolish” acts by children with “They are only children”.

    Therefore, if rights are linked to responsibility, then it is clearly that children do not, should not, enjoy the same full rights as adults. They are – a lesser kind of citizens.

    1. Williham

      Rights are not contingent, and do not “go hand in hand with responsibility”.

      This is a tired and trite argument, always, it seems, trotted out in defence of denying someone rights, and rarely if ever in order to ensure them.

      Children have all the rights of adults; but they are deemed or rendered incapable of exercising said rights; a fundamentally different concept from not having them in the first place.

      1. voice of reason

        “XYZ have the rights but they are deemed incapable of exercising said rights”

        That’s a pretty pathetic word game you play. The point of “rights” is the ability to exercise them. Otherwise they are not there, period.

  6. Thing of the Past

    Those that live in the European region formerly called Yugoslavia will have a hard time agreeing with you.

    So will the Muslims & Jews & Christians of Sweden.

    If the majority can negate their religious freedoms, then the majority can also decide at any time to negate the freedoms of agnostics or atheists.

    Constitutions were meant to overcome the whims of 51% from year to year and the laws that they pass.

    It isn’t a fan club for one party’s belief or the other, parties are supposed to stand up for the rights of persons above the benefits of the 51%.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      People who believe in the Muslim or Jew equivalent of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have no right whatsoever to be exempt from the law because of that fact alone.

      That is not oppression, that is being equal before the law.

      What this article argues is that freedom-of-religion is being used to oppress people with religion, and that it has therefore become harmful. Freedoms of speech and opinion fully cover anybody’s right to believe in whatever invisible friend they like, even if they’re fully grown up.

      You don’t have a right to ignore whatever laws you like just because you have an invisible friend who puts voices in your head.

      Cheers,
      Rick

      1. Thing of the Past

        The majority does not have a right to make whatever law they want based upon the whims of the day. Unfortunately, in practice Sweden and USA do make laws that counter their Constitutions, and it requires money to go up against these law-making factories.

        According to these constittuions, the majority can not make laws which prohibit your agnostic beliefs. The majority cannot require any particular belief.

        Recent laws which do not fulfill the grundlov (Charter, Constitution, whatever) don’t stand up and are not valid laws.

        In order to make something a valid law, the Charter first must be addressed. So, your opinion is great–go get an amendment to each country’s charter/constitution and then you will have a valid law.

        The Supreme Court ruling stated that that particular law was not valid.

      2. Thing of the Past

        The argument you make allows for governments to make laws which either require you to stop believing as you do, or to require you to begin believing like the 51%. It also could require you to believe in the state church, again. As long as 51% votes in such a law, it would then have to be followed.

        1. Anyone

          nobody is trying to stop to believe in whatever magical friend you believe in.

          but if you use that believe to discriminate against other people, you are not allowed to do that.

          another example: I’m perfectly fine with you smoking, it is your body, you can do whatever you want with it. But if you blow that smoke in my direction, I have a problem.

          your rights end as soon as they touch my rights.

        2. gurrfield

          Yes Anyone I agree with you there, but no one is forcing anyone to work for a specific company or buy their products.

          If they choose to have crappy deals for their employees or dirty manipulative behaviour… that’s their choice. Then they deserve that people may not want to work there or people not wanting to buy their products / services.

        3. voice of reason

          @gurrfield:

          Unfortunately, you’re wrong. People are being forced to work for an immoral company – by way of making ALL companies, by law, immoral.

          I do not want to work for a debasing company that insults its employees by treating them like sluts and/or idiots that can’t buy their own cheap contraceptives! Formerly, I could simply avoid employers who are degrading their employees in this way. By this fascist law I can’t! And I can’t even take the “freedom of religion” exception, since I’m atheist!

        4. Anonymous

          I think the point Rick is trying to make is that provided you have freedom of assembly, expression/speech, and the natural right to free opinions[1], then freedom of religion doesn’t protect anything worthwhile – you can meet and say some specific phrases, or not meet, or meet and say other phrases. You can tell your children whatever nonsense you like, provided they are also taught what is on the national/state curriculum[2].

          Regarding religious exemptions in laws, they should not apply solely to religious opinions, but should apply to all opinions or to none. If it is acceptable for a Jew or Muslim to refuse to work in a piggery and not have that counted by welfare rules, then a pacifist should be able to refuse to work for BAe or an environmentalist for Shell. (For that matter, what about communists/syndicalists?)

          [1] That’s a natural rather than legal right as long as no-one can read minds.

          [2] That is the case in most if not all developed nations – compulsory education is meaningless without a defined core curriculum.

          @gurrfield, sure, but what about monopolies, and what about companies located in sink districts where the choice is working there or not working at all?

          @VOR: Free-at-the-Point-of-Use contraception and abortion are socially desirable, it is because it reduces the number of unwanted children, but the including it in the mandatory employer-provided healthcare is just an aspect of the insanity of the US health system.

  7. antonella

    what to say then about italy where it is impossible to make people understanding that not all the citizens are roman catholic so not everyone beleives that abortion is a sin (of course it must be done under the law prescriptions) or that not everyone would like to see the holy cross in schools and courts rooms? they say it is a right to show italian “cultural” identity as christian country, i think that faith is personal and if you believe in any god, is your matter, i do not have to believe the same or to act in order to avoid hurting your beliefs! in the usa it looks you are much more advanced on such topis, any discussion like this here is not going to be done seriously ever. how sad!

    1. voice of reason

      Some time ago, not all people believed killing Jews was a sin, either. That doesn’t make it in any way acceptable.

  8. Thing of the Past

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..

    So, by eliminating the “Freedom of Religion” clause of that 1st amendment, then Congress is free to make laws respecting the establishment of religion, ie to require citizens to believe in one religion or another religion.

    1. Williham

      I hate to go all 9th amendment on you; but:

      “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

      Irrespective of what the 1st amendment says; no one can in the interest of free exercise of their religion seek to deny the rights of others.

      Even if you believe, in your heart of hearts, that blowing up an abortion clinic is consistent with and required by your religious beliefs, that does not change the fact that doing so would conflict with the rights of others to not be blown up.

      Now, one could discuss at length if the right to freedom of religion or the right to not be blown up is more important, but just kidding, of course the right to not be blown up is more important.

      In a secular state, all citizens must follow secular laws first, and their personal imaginary BFFs laws second.

      1. Thing of the Past

        No problem. All you have to do is to follow the law. Read the Supreme Court Decision about how the law was not a law and the reference it gives.

        Then, go back to those laws and change them. For the references that are constitutional, all you need is 2/3rds majority and then have it validated by each of the states.

        Then, you have a law that supercedes people’s individual rights granted by Constituional amendments. That’s what you need to do to make a valid law.

      2. voice of reason

        How does the right of unborn children to not be slaughtered and ripped apart come into play here?

        1. asdf

          First of all, embryos do not qualify as living, conscious people. You’re just being completely ridiculous.

        2. Thinkoftheplants

          Plants feel and communicate pain. Why should you be allowed to rip them apart and dissolve them?

          [goatse.jpg]

        3. gurrfield

          asdf: Nurses who are assigned to perform these procedures have to manually end the life outside when they can see it struggling for survival. When it can (barely) breathe. If they refuse, they may lose their job.

          On another note I wonder how many people in todays society could do everything required to get the food on their plates.

          That’s easily a majority in congress who have never done that, and still enjoy putting dead animals in their mouth and then they pass a law that it should be illegal to put your dick in a live animal if it doesn’t even feel any pain.

  9. Ingo Heinscher

    I agree with most, but

    “People who refuse to work with X (lotteries, pork, hot dogs, whatever) because of “beliefs” and demand to stay on unemployment benefits instead”

    is definitely not such a case. Unemployment benefits are there to even the negotiation power of employer ad potential employee. Therefore, it must be your right to deny to work for X for any reason of your choosing, including not liking the color of the employer’s shoes.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Therefore, it must be your right to deny to work for X for any reason of your choosing, including not liking the color of the employer’s shoes.

      While I see your point, I guess this is partly a different discussion. The context was a set of laws where you don’t have a right to deny a job offering and keep your unemployment benefits, and people still demanded exactly that because of religion.

      One may argue that this condition in the set of laws on unemployment benefits is wrong, and that can certainly be argued, but if the law is there, then people should not be exempt from it on religious grounds.

      Cheers,
      Rick

  10. Paulo Rená

    I absolutely convinced that freedom of religion has little to do with the US healthcare problem. There is no need to let go one of the fundamental rights in order to enforce anyone of them, nor defending one right covers another is the best move. When you impose the religious view of one, you are disrespecting freedom of religion; the same goes when someone destroy monuments from another group, and that does happen a lot in Brazil. Those are one specific kind of wrongdoing, and should remain so, independently of freedom of opinion and speech.

    1. Anonymous

      A woman getting pregnant (or a man getting her pregnant) due to sexual intercourse is not a medical problem.

      Why should an employer be required to pay for treatment of this (not a) medical problem?

      1. Wendy Cockcroft

        You’re not a woman, or in a relationship with one, are you?

        1. Anonymous

          Getting pregnant due to sexual intercourse is not a medical problem.

          Not being able to get pregnant due to sexual intercourse is a problem.

          I get the joke/whatever that you were trying to make, but it’s not valid.

        2. voice of reason

          Non sequitur.

      2. Anyone

        of course that is a medical problem.
        a fetus is basically a parasite

        that some people choose to attach feelings to that parasite doesn’t make it any less of a parasite

        1. Anonymous

          People like you are far more poisonous to society than religious nutjobs ever could be. Yes, we get it- you’re of the caste that hates children and finds it idiotic that anyone could ever like them. We get it.

        2. Anyone

          on the contrary, I love children
          I really enjoy playing with my nieces and nephews and little cousins

          they do get annoying after a while, though, so handing them back to the parents is just as great as playing with them before.

          still, a fetus is not a child, it’s not a human being. its life should not be put as more important than the life of the parents

        3. voice of reason

          @Anonymous:

          I would upvote that a thousand time. Well said.

        4. asdf

          To quote:
          “still, a fetus is not a child, it’s not a human being. its life should not be put as more important than the life of the parents”
          If you attempt to deny that, you’re lying to yourself.

        5. gurrfield

          asdf: So the magic happens when it plops out so we can see it’s beauty? There’s not anything important happening inside before the birth?

          Evil is easier to deal with if you don’t have to see it’s consequences. Only the nurses have to see it. And if they speak out they are marginalized. People don’t want to hear the disgusting consequences of the laws or their actions. Just as war and soldiers can hardly explain to anyone what they have seen. People just don’t want to see or hear that shit. But it still happens.

      3. Anonymous

        It is a social problem, as is an unhealthy population. Rather than thinking of it as part of the employer’s required contribution to the health of their employees, think of both as taxation in kind for the benefit of society.

  11. Antimon555

    Why shouldn’t it be one’s own freedom to do or not do something with one’s hands, as long as it doesn’t harm anyone?

    If you put your hand forward, and I don’t want to shake it for whatever reason (maybe I’m a germophobe, maybe I don’t like you, maybe I have dirty hands at the moment, or maybe I have just religious reasons.) why wouldn’t I have the right to refuse to shake your hand? Not police-backed of course, but it’s not like you are in a position to force me without invading my own bodily privacy, is it?

    1. Jan Andersen

      Rich’s comment about the handshake was promted by a recent episode in Sweden where a man was denied a job because he refused to touch unknown women. Seeing that the job was in a setting where all kinds of women was likely to appear and expected to be greeted like any other person, the job seeker wasdeemed unfit for the job. He then accused the potential employer of racism.

  12. Anonymous

    What you want isn’t freedom of speech and freedom to hold an opinion to replace freedom of religion.

    What you want is freedom FROM religion, and for religion to be swept under the rug as this side effect of these other rights we have- in effect waving over the concept of religious belief as just another individual’s opinion.

    Way to lose my respect, Rick, just like so many in the technical community.

    1. Williham

      Religious beliefs *is* just another individual’s opinion; and a desire from religion is perfectly legitimate; specifically a freedom from having to comply with the precepts of any given religion rather than secular laws.

      1. voice of reason

        It is about as “legitimate” as a desire of freedom from having to comply with secular laws rather than religious ones. And I’m saying that as an atheist.

    2. Anyone

      Freedom FROM religion would be such a great thing, religion is holding us back so much as a civilization.

      1. gurrfield

        I must disagree. In Sweden not many percent of the population are religious at all. Religious people are very often marginalized and mocked. There’s grown a culture that they are “OK” to mock. Well as long as they’re not jews ( obviously ).

        1. Anyone

          what exactly are you disagreeing with?

        2. gurrfield

          I interpreted freedom “from” religion as banning religions.

    3. Caleb Lanik

      Religious beliefs are just another opinion. Like any other opinion, you’re free to believe anything you like with no oppression from the government. Like any other opinion, you should not be exempt from the law based solely on that opinion, nor allowed to impose those beliefs on others.

      For fuck’s sake, the Supreme Court ruling that allows companies to deny birth control can just as easily be used to deny HIV positive employees access to treatment, as long as the employer has a “sincere religious belief” that HIV is a scourge from God. Under no circumstances should an employer have the right to tell their employee what fully legal medical treatments they are and are not allowed access to.

      1. voice of reason

        Then how are people who want me to subsidize their sex lives allowed to impose those believes on others?

        Employers are not doctors. They are not supposed to pay for your healthcare. You get your wage, and can buy whatever insurance you want with it. At the same time, *I* can buy it for myself the way *I* want/need. Having things like that forced on the employees is OFFENSIVE.

        Also, contraceptives are not “medical treatment”.

        1. Caleb Lanik

          Employers are supposed to pay for your healthcare. Under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) they are legally required to provide health insurance to all full time employees. The question then becomes, ‘is the employer allowed to decide what medications their employees are allowed to have? The answer should be “no” to any reasonable person.

          Think about the ramifications of this law, what if I, in a hypothetical religion, believe that vaccines are evil? Should I be allowed to give my employees polio? What if I think the only way to treat cancer is to pray?

          We can argue about whether or not the Obamacare model is the right way to go about providing health care to everyone, but this is the law that is on the books, and you shouldn’t be allowed to be exempt from the parts you don’t like on the basis of your imaginary friend’s say-so.

        2. Sheep Hurrdurr

          [raisedfinger.jpg]

  13. mychoice

    These arguments could have been made in a much more coherent and palatable way.

    Your raw contempt for the worldviews of others leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth.

    :(

    1. Anyone

      I didn’t see any contempt, he often reinforced in the article that everyone can believe whatever they want.

      You just should not be able to force your worldview on other people. If you don’t want to get an abortion, great, but don’t stop other people from getting one, for example.

      1. gurrfield

        “Not paying for” is not the same as “stopping someone from”.

        1. Caleb Lanik

          As of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, providing insurance is no longer optional for employers, it’s a requirement. You don’t get to opt out of the law on the basis of your religious beliefs, period. I don’t believe my government should be killing innocent people in Pakistan, but I can’t opt out of paying taxes on the basis of that opinion.

        2. gurrfield

          That’s a law which I was not aware of and neither it is in effect in my country so I really don’t think I know enough about it to say anything about it. Thank you for the information however.

          Does the insurance offered need to cover all types of care or just some minimum requirements?

        3. Caleb Lanik

          Something of both, there are a set of standards that all plans must comply with, and as such there is a minimum standard. However, the minimum is reasonably comprehensive, and includes, among other things, access to birth control without a copay. As a compromise, the Obama administration agreed that religiously affiliated non-profit organizations (like churches or religious hospitals) could instead have birth control paid for entirely by the federal government.

          Five men on the United States Supreme Court decreed that corporations, being people, can evidently have religious beliefs. As such, the company is allowed to prevent their employees from receiving that birth control benefit. Theoretically, the federal government could use the same agreement, and pick up the tab for the employees of, by some estimates, as many as 90% of all corporations in the United States. Further, the Catholic church is also suing the federal government about said compromise. They feel that they should have the ability to prevent a third party from providing birth control to their employees as well. Evidently, they feel that their religious beliefs should be allow them to dictate their employees behavior outside of work.

        4. Per "wertigon" Ekström

          I assume you are talking about Obamacare, which is more or less an abomination of how to provide health care?

          Yep, it sounds to me like the worst of two worlds and it won’t solve any problems, but as long as the american people are dead set on public healthcare being the worst healthcare ever, well… Not much one can do.

        5. Caleb Lanik

          Yes, I am referring to the Affordable Care Act, which is frequently referred to as “Obamacare.” While I will agree that socialized healthcare would be a far better solution to the problem, that’s really not the point. The law was passed, and four years later it was implemented. The Supreme Court ruled that the law is constitutional. As such, if people want a better law passed, or the Affordable Care Act repealed, there’s a process for that, and it involves convincing Congress to vote a given way. Claiming that you shouldn’t have to obey the law because your religion demands that you control your employees’ private lives just silly.

      2. voice of reason

        You obviously don’t know what it’s all about. The subject is Rick-like guys in US govt forcing their worldview on other people, and a company trying to push back against it.

  14. Alan

    Sorry, Rick, you’re wrong on this one.

    Religious freedom is not merely freedom of opinion, it is also freedom of conscience. Religion is not just about what one believes, but about what one does.

    The owners of Hobby Lobby believe that some types of birth control are murder. (The insurance they provide gives employees OTHER types of birth control – just a few types are excluded.) Doubtless you don’t agree, but are you really comfortable requiring someone to pay for what they consider murder? Sure, you don’t think an embryo is a human being – but there are lots of places in the world where it is common to believe that human beings (from certain outgroups) are not human beings. If your government mandated that you contribute to a private anti-Finnish militia for a campaign of ethnic cleansing, would you be comfortable with that? It’s bad enough when governments take our money by force to do things we find unconscionable, but I dare say it’s even worse when they require us to get personally involved.

    As for your examples above:

    Hobby Lobby isn’t denying any employees any rights. They simply are refusing to PAY for what the owner considers to be murder. Employees are free to pay for these types of birth control for themselves, if they want to – or, if it is so important, a third party or the government itself could pay for them.

    Employees should be free to refuse to shake hands with a female customer. Employers should be free to fire such employees if they cannot meet their job’s requirements. Religious freedom means that the government cannot force people to act against their conscience – it does not mean that other people must subsidize them or even make allowances for them, though it is simply good manners to make allowances in minor matters.

    No employer should be forced to hire an abortion nurse who refused to perform abortions – but if they hired a nurse on a contract that clearly states they DON’T have to perform abortions, that nurse shouldn’t have to.

    There shouldn’t be unemployment benefits anyway.

    Employees have the right to refuse hygienic practices. Employers have the right to fire them. Customers have the right to know whether their food provider follows hygienic practices and the right to patronize them or not.

    Children should not be required to attend school, and if they want to attend school they should be allowed to choose their own teachers. If students had this power, they could simply avoid teachers who attempt to prevent them from thinking critically.

    Children should be allowed to choose their own care-givers, also, with some minimal oversight from a judge. (In the absence of choosing, parents would be presumed to be the child’s choice.)

    Now, why exactly do we need to get rid of freedom of conscience?

    1. Mark

      You have to distinguish between negative freedom of conscience and positive freedom of conscience.

      Negative freedom of conscience is not under debate here, in fact it’s already an implicit part of liberty, whether explicitly spelled out or not.

      Positive freedom of conscience is oppressive because means the right to force others to adhere to your conscience (for example by prohibiting them from doing business on a Sunday). Also, exemptions from certain rights and responsibilities because of your conscience are a form of oppression.

      That is what needs to be abolished.

      The author is not arguing for or against unemployment benefits (also a positive right and a topic for a different debate). He is saying that once a democracy has decided in favor of unemployment benefits, they should be handed out based on equal rules of eligibility for all citizens, no exceptions.

      He could also have used a negative right to illustrate the oppression by positive religious freedom:

      Members of certain religious groups get an exemption to consume certain hallucinogenic drugs for “spiritual purposes”. Non religious people who consume them for equally “spiritual purposes” got to jail.

    2. Mark

      A religion is a hobby like any other.

      Just because some people take this hobby really, really seriously doesn’t make it any less of a hobby.

      After all, some people take running marathons really, really seriously, and indeed their devotion to the runner’s lifestyle can reach religious proportions. There are no objective criteria to distinguish a hobby from a religion.

      There is no need to enshrine “The Freedom To Play Golf” in a constitution. Not only would that not add anything of value. The freedom to play golf is already implicitly covered by the concept of liberty. It would also have lots of negative side effects. Constitutions are always a little open to interpretation, and legal professionals would give golf more merit than it is due, simply because it spelled out black and white. People would starts suing their employers (often successfully) because they don’t provide complimentary golf courses. Professional golf players would enjoy tax benefits. Golf courses would get exemptions from environmental regulations. Golf would get disproportionate air time on public television. Teachers would get away with refusing to teach tennis to the kids who don’t want to play golf. And so on…

      For exactly the same reason, there is no need to explicitly enshrine “freedom of religion” in a constitution.

    3. Anonymous

      You can get at a similar point to the one Rick is aiming for from a different argument.

      What is your definition of a religion which should be protected: does it need to be theistic, how large does it need to be, and, if it only applies to organised religions, does it only apply to points of dogma or to all doctrine?

      On the first aspect – does theistic Buddhism count? Does atheistic Buddhism count? What about Confucianism, or Unitarian Universalism, or Deism? And what about various tribal religions, nature worship, ancestor worship, etc.? What about Stoicism, or following the teachings of Plato, or Crowley, or Nietzsche, or Marx?

      Do only big religions count? What about minor denominations/branches? What about personal revelation? If that counts, how do I prove that I’m not just making it up as an excuse? If my church forbids something, do I have to be able to understand and explain the theology of why it is forbidden, or just know the result?

      If you say anything goes provided God is involved, then you’re discriminating against secular people. If you don’t allow everything, you end up with a horrible dividing line which is itself going to cause trouble.

      Instead, religious exemptions should either be abolished or expanded to cover any genuine personal belief, or even expanded to the full scope of protected free expression, as is appropriate for each case.

      The personal belief standard is not unknown in many countries’ legal systems, since it has been used in many places as the standard for exemption to conscription, to cover pacifists, communists, etc. It makes a direct replacement for the religious belief standard, so is a convenient drop-in.

      Some exemptions should be abolished as plain nonsense – occasionally someone tries to claim that muslim women should be able to refuse to show their faces when stopped by police, or to obscure their faces in identity photos, which gives them a benefit no-one else has.

      For a lot of things, however, allowing a religious exemption just shows that the rule isn’t really important – if I’m allowed to grow a beard if I call myself Muslim, I should be allowed to grow beard because I think I look good in one.

  15. William Lee

    “Today, the government doesn’t persecute you no matter whether you are praying for salvation to our All-Seing Allfather Odin on his majestic eight-legged steed, or to His Holy Noodliness, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You may even believe that the Earth was created by your invisible friend or that the moon is made of fine cheese, all without persecution from the government.”

    This may be true, but you ARE persecuted, and harshly, for being a Muslim. Freedom of religion has a long way to go before we can consider it obsolete.

    1. voice of reason

      More Christians are persecuted around the world these days than members of any other religion (or non-religion). It depends on which part of world we are talking about.

      1. Anonymous

        And said persecution is not limited to the Middle East either. The level of anti-Christian bias (note that I’m talking about a very specific group of people here and that I’m not grouping all athiests, agnostics, and non-Christians together) is overwhelming in just about every technical community I’m part of.

        The level of disrespect is ridiculous, and comes no where close to that of pushy theists involved in government or business leadership.

        1. Rick Falkvinge

          I’m not anti-Christian; not at all. I treat every grown-up with invisible pretend friends who puts voices in their head with exactly the same amount of well-deserved ridicule.

          I assure you that the name of the imaginary friend does not factor into it.

          Cheers,
          Rick

        2. That's Nice

          That’s nice.

          By Jove, why do you always have to drag poor Zeus/Apollo/Jesus/Neo into every thing? Is there some sort of duty you have that involves invoking said deity, but never praying to? Wouldn’t time be better spent praying afterwards, rather than waving a damn flag?

          I may or may not be bisexual, but I don’t have to drag that into everything with me.

    2. Anonymous

      This may be true, but you ARE persecuted, and harshly, for being a Muslim. Freedom of religion has a long way to go before we can consider it obsolete.

      True, but freedom of religion is the wrong argument to use to prevent persecuting Muslims – just because Muslims are the bad-guy flavour of the month. After all, before Muslims, it was Communists (in some places), before that it was Jews (sometimes as a religion, sometimes as an ethnic group). In other places it has been gypsies of various kinds, Asians, the French, Jesuits, democrats, trades unionists, and so on.

      A far better line to stand on is protection from improper persecution, dragnet surveillance powers, arbitrary stop and search powers, and so on.

  16. Thing of the Past

    It’s unbelievable how many around the world have commented upon this decision, based upon rumors of its contents as reported by those who want this or that.

    Read the decision, at least the summary in the beginning, for example here
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/231968582/Burwell-v-Hobby-Lobby
    You can also find the dissenting opinions with a simple search

    Some key items to note

    (Health and Human Services) “HHS has also provided no evidence that the purported problem of determining the sincerity of an asserted religious belief moved Congress to exclude for-profit corporations from (Right to Religious Freedom Act) RFRA’s protection. ”

    ” (b) HHS’s contraceptive mandate substantially burdens the exer-cise of religion. Pp. 31–38.(1) It requires the Hahns and Greens to engage in conduct thatseriously violates their sincere religious belief that life begins at con-ception. If they and their companies refuse to provide contraceptive coverage, they face severe economic consequences: about $475 millionper year for Hobby Lobby, $33 million per year for Conestoga, and $15 million per year for Mardel. And if they drop coverage altogeth-er, they could face penalties of roughly $26 million for Hobby Lobby,$1.8 million for Conestoga, and $800,000 for Mardel. P. 32. ”

    You can also read the text deeper and find that the decision is narrowed to specifics and not applied to the whole world in general, as you might believe with the rhetoric.

    So, if you don’t like the verdict “the law that everyone should follow equally”, then 2 things that must be addressed are the RFRA of 1993 and also the punitive aspects of ACA, which is not a health care plan but a penalty system administered by the IRS for not purchasing the financial services of the favorited big-daddy health insurance corporations chosen by the IRS & the administration.

    In order to usher in Obamacare, the Supreme Court supporters (google it) created the statement that Obamacare is not a tax, it’s a penalty. That ruling allowed the “right” to penalize anyone who doesn’t except their “right for healthcare”.

    Now that it is established as a penalty, and becomes known for its punitive nature, it sees itself again in the Supreme Court for what it truly is. A penalty.

  17. Thing of the Past

    You will also want to understand that Obamacare is funded by Swedish citizens living in Sweden. You will need just a modicum of research to verify that the Obamacare Tax on the Rich sucks money out of all countries, and is not covered by the SWE/USA tax treaty.

    “Rich” is defined as $2,000,000 . This sounds like a lot of money to young persons, however it kicks in at a place where responsible middle-class Swedes are at retirement or where middle-age persons receive summer house inheritances. Many 63 yr olds have home, boat, and summer assets at that level.

    Any Swedish citizen living in Sweden, who has not properly cancelled their US visa with form I-407, or any Swedish person born in USA, or any Swedish person with one US parent, must file US taxes, and pay the higher of US or Swedish taxes. Untaxed Swedish retirement income in Sweden or Swedish unemployment payments are taxed by USA at the higher rate (up to 35%). Also, Obamacare is excluded from the tax treaty. Those that are labeled “rich” must pay the Obamacare tax of the rich of 30% of their investment interest (that necessary for their retirement).

    If you want to write about something important, take a look at how the US tax system is sucking money out of Swedish citizens living in Sweden, whom the USA calls “US persons” (subjects). You will be surprised at how many Swedish citizens living in Sweden must pay for Obamacare. Research it–it doesn’t take much to verify it.

  18. TG

    I don’t see how most of the examples listed are “backed by government force”. They are people exercising freedom of trade and freedom of contract. If anything, Rick, you are arguing for government force to prevent people exercising these liberties.

    Bottom line, if you don’t like the way someone does business, don’t trade with them, don’t work for them.

    1. TG

      Ok, after a second reading I see your point on some of them, where employees are demanding to be employed in a way that the employer might not freely agree to. But in the original example, a company should be free to issue employees with healthcare benefits as they see choose, and the employees can decide whether they accept the terms.

      1. gurrfield

        Yes I agree with this. If a company behaves in a bad way, that will backfire. People won’t want to buy from them or work for them.

        That line of reasoning works unless the company has a monopoly in some sense so there is no where else for the costumers or workers to turn to…

        1. voice of reason

          Sure, but even then it is not your employer’s job to provide healthcare to you (and especially to subsidize your sex life).

        2. gurrfield

          If they want to offer that to you and it is something you like, then why not? I agree it’s not their duty to do it. But should’nt they be free to offer it if they want to?

  19. Ukko

    What a load of collectivist claptrap and doublespeak. The Hobby Lobby decision doesn’t use government force, it frees closely held companies from government force. Women aren’t being denied access to contraceptives, they are being denied the right to force a third party to pay for it.

    1. voice of reason

      Well said.

    2. I'm not killing you...

      … just discharging your duty to your nation in time of war.

      [middlefinger.jpg]

  20. Anarcho

    Better up, It is time to abolish overnmental force.

    A short book for the iPad or similar this summer:
    http://mises.org/books/marketforliberty.pdf

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10881213/The-coming-digital-anarchy.html

    1. Anarcho

      That is governmental force :)

      Another good piece to read on the subject is

      http://www.freeyourmindaz.com/uploads/1/2/8/3/12830241/the-most-dangerous-superstition-larken-rose-2011.pdf

    2. Anarchy Rules

      Move to a commune, hippie.

  21. Im_from_the_internet

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoqkEL7m-Oo

    A video from That Guy T on this headline.

  22. frank87

    I think Freedoms of Opinion and Speech aren’t enough to be able to practish religion. Gouvernment has to allow organisation.
    In the Netherlands they suppressed the catholic church by expelling the bisshops. Wwith freedom of religion in place, which proves again how freedom of religion serves the ruling class.

  23. […] Freedom Of Religion Is Obsolete, Superseded, And Harmful […]

  24. thunder

    I do need to give this some more thought, but am inclined to agree in principal. that said, the idea that a company can compel a person to do something against their beliefs is not something I’d support. two of the things on the list in your article specifically raise a red flag for me.

    “Employees who refuse to shake hands with female customers”

    “People who refuse to work with X (lotteries, pork, hot dogs, whatever) because of “beliefs” and demand to stay on unemployment benefits instead…”

    I’m of a mind that no employer should be able to compel a person to *do* something against his or her beliefs. the responsible thing for the individual to do would be simply to quit that job and move on to a form of work more compatible with their beliefs. there should be no fault in such a case, should either the employer or the employee choose to terminate the work contract on that basis.

    “Abortion nurses who refuse to perform abortions “for beliefs”, including when lives are at risk…”

    this is one which gave me pause. firstly, if a person applies for work as an “abortion nurse” knowing that it’s against their beliefs, then they’ve committed fraud in my opinion. any harm which befalls a patient as a consequence of the employee’s failure to do their job would constitute an aggressive act, possibly murder (through deliberate inaction). on the other hand, employers have a corresponding responsibility to ensure that their employees are up to the task before they get hired in the first place. that not only includes skills, but also willingness to do the work.

  25. […] en cuanto empieza a hablar de “los problemas de la religión”. En un artículo suyo, Rick aboga por la supresión de la libertad de culto, ya que considera que los derechos que inicialmente amparaba esta libertad están ya más que […]

  26. A.F.

    I almost forgot!!

    It would be interesting to know the opinion of the author on Kopimism, the ‘file sharing’, a fully recognized religion in Sweden, home country of Mr Falkvinge himself.

    Does this religion gives its followers special status and impunity regarding some things and laws, that the non-kopimists swede citizens must abide?

    The Church of Kopimism is also a recognized religion in other countries, including several states in the US. Have the followers of this churches any special rights not available to members of other religions and/or non-religious citizens whatsoever?

  27. Daryl Davis

    WOW!!! Rick wasn’t this pissed when he got Gox’d! Hostility to religion will do that to you.

    The article is nonsensical, even o its own terms. By Rick’s own admission, no one denies me my right to freedom of speech if they don’t give me a venue or if they refuse to listen to me. So how is it “denying women health care” (primary care appointments, emergency treatment, surgery) to refuse to pay for “emergency contraceptives” (abortifacents), which constitute 4 of 16 FDA-approved contraceptive methods here in the U.S.

    The “morning-after pill,” according to Planned Parenthood–not exactly a bastion of that dangerous, outmoded, religious morality Rick rails agains–costs $10-$70 for women when not covered by health “insurance” (itself a misnomer, but that’s outside the scope here). That’s not a lot to invest in one’s own health, especially on an emergency basis, in my book. Hobby Lobby doesn’t dictate what its employees do with their earnings.

    Before my first vacation trip to SE Asia in 2000, I discovered my health insurance did not cover anti-malarial medications. Cost to me was $70, the high end of the morning-after pill in the U.S. Plugging that number into the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator, I see that $70 in 2000 bought what $96.71 does today. So in real dollars, the morning-after pill is cheaper than my anti-malarials. Was my employer denying me healthcare because I invested $70 of my salary in my own well-being?

    I woke up with a headache the day I first read this. I took a couple of aspirin, which I had paid for myself. Was my employer denying me my right to health care by not buying aspirin for me?

    If I throw Planned Parenthood’s donation solicitations, unopened, into the recycling bin, am I “behaving like an asshole toward other people?”

    But for all his sneering at magical spaghetti beings and such, Rick has his own religion: the State, “that great fiction by which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else” (Bastiat).
    It’s been argued before on these pages, and again as I write this, that the government should provide a “basic income” for everyone, regardless of whether they want to experiment with something productive or simply spend their time getting stewed, screwed, and tattooed. Where does the money come from? The State will miracle it into existence! Or, as Zachery alludes to in today’s article, the State will re-distribute it from those who can’t help being productive, no matter how heavily they’re mulcted. Oh, but Zachery says it won’t be the State, with its instruments of coercion and surveillance, doing the re-distribution, it wil be voluntary self- government. How? A miracle, I suppose. And if a few bucks is too much to ask people to invest in their own pleasures, imagine the exponential growth of what will constitute a “basic income.”

    1. gurrfield

      I can assure you that Rick usually does not like the state very much either. You will find out if you read some of his other pieces.

  28. Mark

    A religion is a hobby like any other.

    Just because some people take this hobby really, really seriously doesn’t make it any less of a hobby.

    After all, some people take running marathons really, really seriously, and indeed their devotion to the runner’s lifestyle can reach religious proportions. There are no objective criteria to distinguish a hobby from a religion.

    There is no need to enshrine “The Freedom To Play Golf” in a constitution. Not only would that not add anything of value. The freedom to play golf is already implicitly covered by the concept of liberty. It would also have lots of negative side effects. Constitutions are always a little open to interpretation, and legal professionals would give golf more merit than it is due, simply because it spelled out black and white. People would starts suing their employers (often successfully) because they don’t provide complimentary golf courses. Professional golf players would enjoy tax benefits. Golf courses would get exemptions from environmental regulation. Golf would get disproportionate air time on public television. Teachers would get away with refusing to teach tennis to the kids who don’t want to play golf. And so on…

    For exactly the same reason, there is no need to explicitly enshrine “freedom of religion” in a constitution.

  29. D.S. Gruntled

    I support any expression of freedom which does no harm to the general health and stability of a society or to the innocent individual. Reverse Piracy for instance.

    @Mr Falkvinge Hey Rick, I’m an American. Your anti-spam measures are very unfair and discriminatory. As a product of the American education system, do you really think I can easily come up with the missing integer in the question: blank X 3 = 24? Most inconvenient having to reach for the calculator simply to post a comment on your blog.

  30. Fie Upon This Quiet Life

    I agree whole heartedly. If anything, freedom of religion should ONLY mean that the government cannot force religion upon you. We should not legistlate based on religion at all.

  31. Right to live

    …and don’t get me started on infant/toddler genital mutilation, male and female alike. Your right to believe whatever crazyfuckery you want will never, ever, extend to any insane right to cut into the flesh of another citizen and deliberately remove functional tissue, regardless of DNA similarity

    That’s a great argument against abortion.

  32. kentmolly

    That’s a really great argument against abortion 😉
    Its often get little strange because our bold crusaders can only think that other cultures are evil.

    Of course its crazy for a woman to kill a life inside her, a sign that she is severely brainwashed.
    But they don’t want it to get public where the insanity of women killing their children come from, and describe it as “freedom”. Freedom to be infantile maybe…of course not the women or the defenders of abortion think more than all that shouted “Sieg Heil !” and where going to kill themselves and others.

    “People who refuse to work with X (lotteries, pork, hot dogs, whatever) because of “beliefs” and demand to stay on unemployment benefits instead (note: refusing a job offer while on unemployment insurance normally ends your right to further unemployment benefits)”

    So it is “freedom” to force people to work with whatever ? Weapon industry ? Gas chamber ? Abortion ? Thank you, I know where that insane “freedom” come from; Nazi Germany, and before that in the feudal and slavery system.
    Its the Nazis which give some as much license to live (money) they want, and starving others.
    If they don’t kill them; seven wars after the Hollywood movie 911.

    The system with the state creating unlimited amount of money out of nothing are already at work 😉 Mostly in the US. Its only the distribution of this license to kill which are somewhat uneven. Like in the Murder state of Rome. Without this license everybody is equal. The Ideals of the French Revolution have never be made real. Maybe the satanic symbols in city planes in US give us a hint why.

    It is because of REASONS that freedom of Religion is the last bastion against insanity and tyranny.
    Was it not the Pirate Party which abandon some practical way of supporting The Pirate Bay ?
    And now they construct a theory for it ! A theory out of treason. That’s also a religion ! Judas.
    Who know what they will end as ? But I DO know what some parties during the February Revolution ended as; fascists.

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