Monday, February 20, 2006

Does Religious Freedom Exist Only In The Mind?

"I would say at the outset, of all the plaintiffs who testified and the depositions that I've read, I believe that all of them have sincere religious beliefs. This does not require any testimony of orthodoxy, because orthodoxy is not any issue.... In listening to the testimony, the views expressed weren't necessarily my views but I recognize them all as valid religious beliefs that are entitled to protection under the law. I'm sure that if I express my religious views some people would say that's very weird and that's very strange, you know, I can't argue wtih that. That's unorthodox. And that's what makes up religion, is that we all have a right in this country to have whatever religious views we choose to have."
-Judge Kenneth Ryskamp, Oral Ruling, Warren v. Boca Raton

Ryskamp's opinion is, apparently, that religion is a matter of "views." And rights are attached to "views," not to the action that one takes. Again, one sees a typically protestant(small "p") focus on religious opinions rather than religious acts. It should be enough, from this perspective, that one's opinions are free.
-Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, The Impossibility of Religious Freedom p. 92

Sullivan's book covers a dispute over religious cemetery decorations in a public cemetery of Boca Raton, Florida, and will hopefully be a topic of further postings here.

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