I am an Atheist. As a follow on, I do not believe in the supernatural either.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
I would also like to remind us of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Why mention of these? Current events have led many to demand protection from the Government. Many are angry, and none want to live in fear. So the solution is, “protect me from them.” Let us see if that is the best approach.
Have rights ever been infringed? Is this question different from, “have rights been limited?” The problem with answering the question is one of definition.
the action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation. “copyright infringement”
the action of limiting or undermining something.“the infringement of the right to privacy”In one definition we violate the statement (you can no longer go to church, talk about religion, you can no longer own a gun, etc). What we are seeing here is that the law of the land implicitly states that we allow. Then we enact law that says what is allowed, is not allowed. In this way we have infringed.
In the second part of the definition we limit something. It is a fact based on this definition that my right to keep and bear arms has been infringed. I can not go out and legally buy a fully automatic M-16. The reason is that law has been put in place that infringes my right. I am not making a moral conclusion about this, I am only stating a fact.
What I am demonstrating is that although we the people have rights that can not be infringed, we allow it. I wish I could say we allow infringement because we do a risk analysis and decide that the infringement of our rights is less risky than the outcome of protecting the right. What actually happens is that we cower in fear and demand protection.
We have done this with our right to peaceably assemble too. We want to make sure that trade, commerce, and personal security are not effected by rampaging mobs. You can peaceably assemble as long as you have a permit and will disperse if “law enforcement” dictates. Again, we want easy and safe instead of free.
So when I hear people talking about Muslims and Islam I shake my head. I KNOW that we can infringe on the right “protecting the free exercise (of religion).” I know that if a large enough majority allows this right to be infringed for the safety of the people of the country, that Muslims can be forced out of the country. I know this because of all the examples I have seen of infringement of rights that can not be infringed.
As an Atheist I would not miss the practice of religion – any religion. This does create a problem for me. Religion is an ideology. We do not have freedom of religion because gods demand it. We have freedom from ideological control because people demand it. I demand it. I can not defend freedom of ideology while cherry picking ideologies that I do not like for removal.
I will tolerate outdated mythologies and fallacy driven ideologies. Yes, I said tolerate. I will put up with childish simplistic concepts of morality. I will allow you to pollute the market place of ideas, because I truly believe that when the broad light of day shines on the lies you have to tell to support your ideology, fewer and fewer people will believe it.
There is one type of ideology I will stand against. One that demands harm to another for having a different ideology. I do not care if you call yourself Nazi, Muslim, or Christian. I will not support anything you say that demands harm to another. I will not sit idly by while you use your ideology to harm another. I do not care if you have a problem with me drawing cartoons of a revered leader, take issue with me protecting someones right to marry, or require the execution of someone because of their religious belief. I will fight you with every ounce of energy, every breath I draw, and any word I can utter.
But…. I will still let you urinate in the drinking water of ideas. Because truth acts as a filter and removes the piss of unruly children.