Tag Archives: liberty

Religious liberty and thought crimes

When the mechanism for punishing conscience is established by law, any political power that takes control will use the mechanism to punish those with opposing ideas. The mechanism is neutral, and eventually, you’ll be on the opposite side of the controlling power. You could avoid this by not allowing the mechanisms for punishing conscience to be established by law. Has anyone ever changed another person’s conscience by coercion? Forced underground, conscience eventually re-emerges, angrier and stronger. Beware of well-intended mechanisms that can be turned against you when the center of power shifts. Beware of politically suppressing a group with which you disagree.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/62/A_protester_wearing_breathing_gas_mask._Clashes_between_protesters_and_interior_troops_persist._Euromaidan_Protests.jpg/640px-A_protester_wearing_breathing_gas_mask._Clashes_between_protesters_and_interior_troops_persist._Euromaidan_Protests.jpg

A protester wearing breathing gas mask. Photo by Mstyslav Chernov

‘America has harsher [religious] restrictions than roughly 130 other countries,’ says The Atlantic

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is the first line of the first amendment in the United States Constitution; religious freedom was clearly a legal priority of the men who drafted the Bill of Rights. Yet, 225 years later, the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project has said the United States places a “moderate” level of restrictions on religious practice compared to the other countries in the world. According to Pew, the U.S. saw a marked increase in hostility toward religion starting in 2009, and this level remained consistent in the following years.

So begins an article by Emma Green in The Atlantic entitled, “The U.S. Puts ‘Moderate’ restrictions on Religious Freedom.”

The chart with the article is fascinating, allowing an interactive look at changes in religious liberties — or losses of religious liberties — around the globe.

To me, it’s a reminder: In every corner of the United States today, the First Amendment is under attack, including ridiculous attacks on student and faculty speech on university campuses as well as federal government assaults on individual conscience.

You ought to seek the most liberty for everyone, even people you dislike and disagree-with. The alternative? Liberties that alternate with the fluctuations of political power.

 

House Tea Party Caucus: traitors to their alleged cause of liberty

According to Forbes magazine:

CISPA, or the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act, passed the House yesterday. The bill is full of problematic intrusions into individual privacy and online liberty, and yet those members of the House who associate themselves with limited government were largely responsible for its passage.

Reason magazine reports:

The complete roll call shows 206 Republicans voting for the bill, 28 against. Democrats went 42 to 140 in the opposite direction. The Republican No column includes some fairly libertarian-friendly names, including Amash, McClintock and Rohrabacher (who also this week earned the honor of being bannedby vile Afghan kleptocrat Hamid Karzai). Voting for the legislation were great libertarian nopes Ryan, Flake and Duncan. The name Paul shows up in the not-voting lineup.

TechDirt.com reports:

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change … to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Those clowns in the House Tea Party Caucus should no longer be trusted. This is a complete violation of trust and betrayal of principle.

P.J. O’Rourke on Radio Free Europe

From P.J O’Rourke’s article Radio Free Europe, Freedom of Speech, and Liberty:

Once, during the civil war in Lebanon, I was stopped at a Hezbollah checkpoint by a teenager with an AK-47. When the young man saw my American passport I was subjected, with a gun muzzle in my face, to a twenty minute tirade about “great American satan devil.” I was told that America had caused war, famine, injustice, Zionism, and poverty all over the world. Then, when the boy had finished his rant, he lowered his gun and said, “As soon as I get my Green Card I am going to Dearborn, Michigan, to study dentist school.”

Information is the source of citizenship. Without information no one can even attempt to build a civil society.

Doug Bandow: True virtue is voluntary

“That is, liberty — the right to exercise choice, free from coercive state regulation — is a necessary precondition for virtue. And virtue is ultimately necessary for the survival of liberty. Virtue cannot exist without freedom, without the right to make moral choices. By virtue I mean the dictionary definition: moral excellence, goodness, righteousness. Coerced acts of conformity with some moral norm, however good, do not represent virtue; rather, the compliance with that moral norm must be voluntary.” –Doug Bandow, The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theology (boldface added)

Acton Institute likes Gov. Sanford

Folks at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty recently interviewed South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Read the interview here.

Freedom begins within oppression: building a church in North Sumatra

The hardest thing in the world is to practice freedom where there are few (if any) freedoms allowed by the ruling class.

Compass Direct New reports:

Jakarta — Muslim extremists and local government authorities last week threatened to tear down a church building under construction in North Sumatra even though church leaders met requirements of Indonesia’s draconian law on worship places, the church’s pastor said. Emboldened by local authorities’ unwillingness to grant a church building permit to Protestant Bataks Christian Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan, or HKBP), some 100 Muslim extremists accompanied by government officials on April 29 tried to destroy the building under construction in Jati Makmur village, North Binjai, 22 kilometers (14 miles) from the provincial capital of Medan. The Rev. Monang Silaban, HKBP pastor, said about 100 members of the Islamic extremist Front Pembela Islam (Islamic Defender Front), some armed with “sharp weapons,” arrived at 4:30 p.m. accompanied by Binjai municipal officials, who brought a bulldozer. Police met with church and Muslim extremist group leaders following the confrontation and reached an agreement that construction on the building would cease until the permit is approved – something that hasn’t happened in the two years since HKBP applied.

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