Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Freedom of worship

Some people have been upset by our president's redefinition of the First Amendment as meaning "freedom of worship." Why does it matter? Because "freedom of worship" means as long as I let you pray in your own home or church, or temple or synagogue, I can do anything to you. Freedom of worship means I can trample over your beliefs in the public square, and even in your private life, as long as I let you go to church.

An example of where this takes us is seen in this story about German home schoolers. Most people are painting this story as the US government saying parents don't have a right to educate their children as they see fit. But that's not the real story.
"The question is not whether Germany's policy violates the American Constitution, whether it violates the parameters of an international treaty or whether Germany's law is a good idea. It is whether the Romeikes have established the prerequisites of an asylum claim — a well-founded fear of persecution on account of a protected ground," the court wrote. In this case, that protected ground is religious freedom.

But the court found that the German government treats all truants the same, regardless of their reasons for not attending school.
This decision shows either a lack of understanding of the first amendment, or a redefinition of it as "freedom of worship." You see, the case is being decided on whether or not they were being punished differently from others who don't want their kids in school for other reasons. But it doesn't matter that they are not being treated differently from others, because the way they are being treated violates their religion.

As Christians we are obliged to pass the faith on to our children. These people's children are being forcibly indoctrinated with anti-Christian teaching. That's the reason they don't want them in school, not because of some personal preference. The German school system is violating their religious freedom by what it is teaching. It doesn't matter that they get the same punishment as someone who keeps their kids out of school for a different reason. Let them opt out of anti-Christian teachings, and then force them to go send their kids to school, then we can talk about parental rights in education. but we're not even at that point yet.

The US government says that as long as they are treated "equally", anything goes. Think about that. Suppose we outlaw circumcision. You could say that doesn't violate the rights of Jews because we are outlawing it for everyone - they are not being treated specially. Or suppose we legislate that everyone has to eat pork. No, those Muslims are not being treated special, and heck, they can still go to Mosque so no harm no foul. Or suppose we legislate that Christians have to buy contraceptives and abortifacients. I'm just waiting for that decision to happen.


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