What Does Religious Freedom Mean to You?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 29, 2009
Candle With Flame

The U.S. State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide and develops programs to promote religious freedom. Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every person, the United States seeks to promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries.

What does religious freedom mean to you?

Comments

Comments

John
|
Minnesota, USA
August 29, 2009

John in Minnesota writes:

Religious Freedom, to be effective -- must be defined as all belief-systems, including those that reject freedom, in that such a practice in fact creates a community of within the majority culture who are at risk of discrimination for a variety of reasons. Only with that definition expansively applied will efforts to free people from religious persecution.

Also, it means fighting xenophobia and hatred here in the U.S. too, because the effort to eradicate injustice world-wide -- as leaders in the world -- relies on a populous who are as concerned as Secretary Clinton.

Rev. R.
|
Montana, USA
August 29, 2009

Shonna in Montana writes:

Religious freedom means the freedom to believe as I am drawn to believe and to feel safe in the knowledge that I will not be persecuted (or, indeed, prosecuted for) said beliefs, As a Pagan Priestess, I have experienced much in the way of people telling me that I am going to hell, that unless I convert to the beliefs of the person trying to convince me, I am lost as is my soul and that of my children. I have known Pagans who have lost jobs, businesses, homes and even their children simply because they are open about their beliefs. I am a business-owner, I am a parent, and as a Pagan, I've had to be VERY quiet about what I believe. Perhaps it's that we all speak a different version of the ultimate Truth, however, when so many believe that their way is the only way, that their Truth is the ONLY Truth, is there room for more than one Truth? Is it possible that we can all eventually honestly and openly follow our spiritual Path without the fear of being treated as a lesser-person? Could it be that having a government free of religion and rhetoric and thus the need to fight in the name of God is possible?

I continue to have hope and as such will continue to walk my talk and my Path and speak my Truth. I respect the beliefs of others, it would be refreshing if others could do the same.

Sylvia
August 29, 2009

Sylvia writes:

My religious freedom prevents me from criticizing how another lives to gain a living and a hope and promise for a better tomorrow. But what confuses MY freedom is when another's religious freedom allows them to steal and berate others who have determined it unethical to steal from anyone to gain respect or escape from poverty. So my saturation against you who don't care if I suffer for following my religious conviction NOT to scar anyone to attempt redress against my own overTHRIFTYness that now places me in the poor house... And I lament for having held too closely any will for paying my taxes abundantly for over 32 years...and now I am suffered to hear you won't condemn any who will to put me to death should my illness carry me forth into your HEALTHCARE pretense to guard all lives with equal constraint against NON caring for a redhead turned gray who devoted her entire life and fortune portend to you at the GOV level who let yourself dive into my salary for not having escaped YOUR ruthless pretense to guard MY freedom of religion's willingness to serve you and your vulgar redress against that.

George
|
United Kingdom
August 29, 2009

George in the United Kingdom writes:

Religious freedom is freedom from religion

Trina
|
Canada
August 29, 2009

Trina in Canada writes:

Freedom is perhaps my most favorite privilige in North American society. I cringe when I hear that someone can't express their own opinions. I was told not to sing on a bus once. U2 lovesongs, to myself for goodness sakes. It was shocking to say the least. I imagined what it must be like to not have freedom. And freedom of religion is huge for me.

I believe we all have the right to praise whom and what we want. We should also have the right to not believe. I don't believe in forcing everyone to believe in God, just because I do. Let's all believe in love and acceptance of one another.

Ronald
|
Texas, USA
August 29, 2009

Ronald in Texas writes:

Religious Freedom to me is the ability to practice faith or beliefs in a manner that I choose to do, w/out causing fear or hate or promoting fear or hate to others around me.

The ability to practice a belief/religion or NOT, as I see fit w/out interference, judgment or persecution.

That is religious freedom. To me.

David
|
Texas, USA
August 29, 2009

David in Texas writes:

All men are created equal -- right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Nothing is accepted that abridges these rights. No man can deny another these rights. We cannot act in any way that denies these rights. Religious freedom grows out of these rights -- and is a part of these rights. Take away religious rights, and the other rights have been abridged.

Aubrey
|
Chile
August 29, 2009

Aubrey in Chile writes:

It means the free will of being able to practice a religion, or none at all, without influence. This being from a culture, from home, etc. To study, work, live, socialize, opinion and participate in a society without discrimination, preference, prejudice or being categorised. And in todays world of ethnical and cutural diversity it also represents our function of personally supporting, upholding and advancing religious freedom: tolerating, learning and peacefully cooperating with eachother. It is our right and duty, as important as the liberty of speech and thought.

Naoya
|
Japan
August 29, 2009

Naoya in Japan writes:

It is indispensable to remove discord among people and nations. Someone may argue that relions are cause of the discord. I do not think so, as you think.

If somebody argues that you should dump your relidion because it may cause discord among people to realize peace, he must understand that he advocates a new religion which denies all other religions and argues his new religion is only idea you must believe.

As many people argue we should be strict with our religions and ourselves and be tolerant about others' religions and themselves.

Discord may occur when you try to deny others' religion and themselves.

Jacob
|
Illinois, USA
August 29, 2009

Jacob in Illinois writes:

To me, religious freedom is a responsibility. A responsibility to recognize that everyone has egual right to practice religion however they see fit, if at all. People should realize that religion is a deeply personal act. When people are demonized for having a certain faith, it is akin to people being demonized for preferring the color green.

Humaira
|
Florida, USA
August 29, 2009

Humaira in Florida writes:

It means being able to practice my religion in public and at work without discrimination. I am a Muslim woman and I want to be able to have the privacy to pray for a few minutes during the prescribed time even if I am at work. It means my fellow Muslim women who want to cover their hair be allowed to do so at work or school.

Janice
|
Texas, USA
August 29, 2009

Janice in Texas writes:

Religious freedom gives me the right to worship publically at any time and not have to worry about getting into trouble for it. It also gives the right to worship in schools and other public places.

Rudyanto
|
Indonesia
August 29, 2009

Rudyanto in Indonesia writes:

Shallooom , it is me Rudy in Bali, Indonesia.

Thanks for the opportunity given to us to express what we have in mind in regard to religious freedom.

As for me, religious freedom is a conducive environment or atmosphere we ,every individual can grow spiritually without any significant external pressure and intimidation. Every body has the right to express their opinions and must respect them in order to create harmony and tranquility to make a better world to live in.

Once again , thanks for the chance so that we can make a new order global world , God bless USA , president Obama along with his amazing administration.have a blessed weekend, guys, cheers, let's live our lives with passion and commit ourselves to making a better world.

Respectfully yours,
Rudyanto

Soufiane
|
Louisiana, USA
August 29, 2009

Soufiane in Louisiana writes:

Religious freedom means freedom of thought.

Islam
|
Egypt
September 6, 2009

Islam in Egypt writes:

what Religious Freedom means to me is that I should enjoy a private personal relationship with God without being judged by anyone else. It is just to be judged by God. Religious freedom also means not harm or hurt, by any way, anyone who is beleiving in other religion.

Nancy
|
California, USA
August 29, 2009

Nancy in California writes:

Religious freedom to me means that anyone is free to believe whatever he or she wants with regards to who or what God is. Any person should be allowed to belong to any religion they want regardless of what that religion stands for or believes. No one should be persecuted for how or what they believe in whether it is to blow up other people in the name of jihad or to be a complete atheist and believe in nothing. However, once the belief crosses over and is imposed on other people, against their will or their own beliefs, then it impinges on the human rights of that person or other people. You can believe in killing people as a means to the end of your religion, but once you ACT on that belief you impose on the rights of others and therefore you must be stopped. You can believe in and belong to a religion that stones women to death from committing a crime agains your religion, but if you actually stone a woman to death then you have impinged upon her rights and you must be stopped. You can believe in a religion that does not allow you to eat meat on Fridays, but if I choose to eat meat on Fridays, I should not be persecuted for doing so. And if I choose to believe that the more positive energy the world puts out, it will come back two-fold, Karma, then that is my right to do so, I simply cannot force you to believe the same.

S G.
|
New York, USA
August 29, 2009

S.G. in New York writes:

The ability to worship our creator in the way in which we understand as necessary as long as our worship doesn't cause physical harm to another be it an animal, human, the environment, etc. It also means the freedom to represent my chosen beliefs and identity as a muslim, sikh, hindu, christian, etc even if that means wearing a certain head garment, or growing my beard without having to worry about being discriminated against in ways that interfere with career, education, legal rights or other daily functioning.

Marianne D.
|
Florida, USA
August 29, 2009

Marianne D. in Florida writes:

I thiink true religious freedom happens when people are not allowed to impose their beliefs on others especially children. Children are being subjected to right wing fundamentalist indoctrination in our country's Southern Baptist and other religious private schools. This is child abuse to make children fear damnation if they don't believe and sets a bad precedent in how they aproach decisions later in life.

Bea
|
California, USA
August 29, 2009

Bea in California writes:

Having the right to practice the religion of my choice.

adnen
August 29, 2009

Adnen writes:

Foundation for lasting peace

Ron
|
New York, USA
August 29, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Religious Freedom means freedom from religion's tyranny in the affairs of humanity. Freedom of religion requires a mutual respect between church and state in the conduct of governance.

Jason
|
Japan
August 29, 2009

Jason in Japan writes:

Religious freedom means no contact, connection or relationship between me and my beliefs, in particular, no government connection what so ever. That means no tax-free status, as I don't want govt deciding what is a valid religion for tax purposes. No religious sayings in the govt, like "in God We Trust." No chaplains in the military funded by govt money. No national cathedrals. No religious preferences or categories for visas. And absolutely no missionaries: no one should be allowed to push their beliefs on anyone else.

palgye
|
South Korea
August 29, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Hi,,,

before saying, i respect Budda, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Rabbi, Allah and also...

Their teaching thought but that was incorrect to is not, oneself the successor, the people whom says in the method which hits to the themselves, us confines appears in the fence which has become one fixed form. The who not making a religion not to be, comprehending, conveys in us but a kind of idolization process comes to be more and becomes a kind of occupation recently and to be throwing away appears,
a bigger problem does and a kind of power group (uses the condition which is not the possibility as the human being of enduring absolutely presents a blue funk and) the body becomes and swelling route of reform to goes oneself and the thing to be being many problem point appears

the one time made the route paste which the human being will advance and to be making guide appeared but our human beings pass by a many trial and error and system of now they are developmental now but The effort step the reading which well makes with the fact that is not the thing the boy is the same thing

i`m not oppose the relision, The founder(?) of 4 religions lives again in case and if comes and like this until will be exclusive the thought holds about each other religion.

mean to me, freedom of religion, That the doctrine only of the themselves does to accept right to knows all the prejudice which will hang without, teaches to will not be?

Victor C.
|
Texas, USA
August 29, 2009

Victor C. in Texas writes:

Freedom to believe in anything that helps the individual to make sense of the universe and the life he/she lives without the fear of prosecution by anybody else. This obviously includes those that do not hold any religious beliefs.

Ted
|
Maryland, USA
August 29, 2009

Ted in Maryland writes:

Religious freedom is the right to live one's life free from having the dogma of theological beliefs forced upon them. Let people believe what they want, and base the laws of man on the will of the people, not on some ancient set of rules that were cast before man knew the nature of nature.

syrian P.
|
Syria
August 29, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

It is an oxymoron to call it -- Freedom of Religion or Religious Freedom.

By itself the word religion means loss of freedom and choice and religiously must adhere to a narrow set of believes, practices and way of life that is prescribed by a self glorified master that could be real, or not a shred of factual history is available to prove his existence. Nevertheless, his missionary and religious poppets insure that the adherents follow that free-less, narrow, way of life and thoughts.

Nations needs to protect is freedom of Beliefs, speech, thoughts, ideas and explorations, freedom of expressions in addition to the freedom to choose and worship, not the limited freedom of choosing a religion, because that will simply makes null all the above freedoms. SNP adds Destiny to the list of must have freedom. State may not interfere in the destiny of a human because they are not creators, just administrators.

Janna
|
California, USA
August 29, 2009

Janna in California writes:

Found this while following Hillary on Twitter:

I'm glad you asked! Religious freedom means no doctrine of superstition triumphs over law. It means those who practice their fundamental right of freedom from religion are not forced to put their hand on a bible, watch our gay brothers and sisters be discriminated against "in the name of god", and watch women be treated with less respect because of a pathetic tradition aimed at keeping the status quo white and male.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

The other day I came home to find a cheerful note left on my door from some friendly folks who were concerned with saving my soul.

The words in bold on the flyer read, "Are you ready for the end of the world?".

I'd been having a pretty nice day up to that point.

So in the interest of my continued state of mental well-being, I relegated the thought to it's proper place in my life, and tossed the flyer in the trash.

Freedom of religion includes the right to remain optimistic.

Ed
|
North Carolina, USA
August 30, 2009

Ed in North Carolina writes:

Religious Freedom to me means, simply, the freedom from religion. The freedom to truly express yourself spiritually - however you wish. Whether it be through Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, Jainism, Shinto, Witchcraft, or Atheism; you are allowed to express yourself as yourself.

Thomas Jefferson felt this axiom paramount, and I tend to agree. Christopher Hitchens continues this by saying, ironically paying homage to Ronald Reagan, "Mr. Jefferson, build up that wall!"

Normita
|
California, USA
August 30, 2009

Normita in California writes:

Freedom of religion is a sacred symbol of my identity that my parents have planted in my heart and mind from my youth to adulthood. It carries a set of values that defines the way I live my life and the way I interact with others around me and in my community. When things become challenging, my faith guides me toward a bright path.

I feel fortunate to live in a country that does not threaten my right to practice it so long as it respects other people's rights to practice theirs.

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