Monday, November 21, 2011

Religious liberty, the state, and the law

Religious liberty, the state, and the law:
statue of angel

BALTIMORE — The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops opened a new front in their fight against abortion and same-sex marriage on Monday, recasting their opposition as a struggle for “religious liberty” against a government and a culture that are infringing on the church’s rights.

The bishops have expressed increasing exasperation as more states have legalized same-sex marriage, and the Justice Department has refused to go to bat for the Defense of Marriage Act, legislation that established the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

“We see in our culture a drive to neuter religion,” Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the bishops conference, said in a news conference Monday at the bishops’ annual meeting in Baltimore.

New York Times, Nov. 15th

There is apparently a new drive underway. By "new" I mostly mean "old", because it is the same campaign as always, it has only shifted fronts. The premise is and always has been that if government does not act to enshrine one particular religious viewpoint into law, it is oppression against that religious group. It is the worst, dullest, and most hollow notion of "religious freedom" possible, because it of course demands that the government reject all possible religious groups and interpretations except for your own. It demonstrates an inherent bigotry on the part of the asserting party, yes, but it also demonstrates a particular philosophical stupidity, one so egregious that it naturally makes the listener suspect all of the rest of the claimant's philosophical underpinnings. If you devote your life's work to the supposed study and expression of ethics and morality, but obtusely misunderstand the meaning of the word liberty, then your life's work seems to have been considerably less productive than you imagine it to be.

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