Monday, March 9, 2015

Your Rights End Where Mine Begin

Right, so there's a ton of stuff that's been going through the courts--like gay marriage, contraception coverage, and abortion rights, to name a few--whose "conflict" hinges on one single thing--religious belief. If it wasn't for the religious belief aspect in these situations, the conflict would more than likely not exist. Or, if it still existed, would be in such a marginalized percentage of the populace as to be non-existent.

And here's where we get to the meat of my post. Let me say this loud and clear for the world to see:

Your belief does not trump everyone else's rights.

It's that simple. Kinda like how in some holy books (the Bible, Quran, Torah) it's ok to stone your neighbors to death for some sin, or murder your own children over disobedience, or otherwise commit grievous bodily harm upon someone for something. Do you get to do that? No? Why the hell not?

Oh yeah, because the law says you can't. Otherwise, it would still be happening.

You see, I respect your right to have your beliefs (or lack of, in the case of atheists). You can worship whatever you want pretty much however you see fit. But when your beliefs start infringing on my rights, then we have a problem.

You see, not everyone is of the same religion--or of any religion at all (the aforementioned atheists). If you don't believe gays should get married, then by all means, don't marry someone of the same gender. If you believe abortion is a sin, then by all means, don't get one. If you believe taking contraception causes abortion (a belief that has been soundly disproven by scientific fact, but whatevs), then by all means, don't take it.

But you have exactly zero rights to tell me I have to follow the same.

And this is where it breaks down for a lot of religious folk. They cry about their rights being infringed upon, claim some war against their religion is occurring all over the place, when the opposite is true. You see, your rights end when they infringe on my rights. Let's repeat: your rights end when they infringe on my rights.

This is why, for instance, stoning your neighbor to death for working on a Sunday is illegal. My neighbor's right to do as he/she pleases on a Sunday trumps any religious belief that he/she should not do certain things on a Sunday. It's that simple. It's also why you can't sell your daughters into slavery or force your daughter to marry her rapist. 

Easy peasy.

Being made to follow laws that apply to the secular good of people doesn't infringe on your religious rights. The fact that abortion is legal, for instance, does not infringe on your personal decision not to get one. But what these people are trying to do is claim that things like abortion being legal infringes on their religious beliefs, and therefore should not be legal.

It doesn't work that way. You can't claim impingement of your religious belief as a way to shove that religious belief down everyone else's throat. And here is the real war--it's not one waged against religion by the rest of the populace; it's one waged by religion against the rest of the populace.

I don't know why this is such a hard concept for people to grasp. This is so simple, really. Not everyone believes the same thing, therefore religious belief should not be legislated into law. Secular law should apply to the land, free of religious intrusion, so that everyone's rights are protected. 

And for those who disagree, I will put one question to you, and one question only:

Is your particular God so weak that he/she/it is unable to take care of the problem him/her/it self?

Ask yourself that, especially given the right to free will most religions claim their God(s) gave the people. If you feel your God is so weak that he/she/it can't handle it him/her/it self, then maybe it's not God that's driving you.

Maybe it's your own need to hate and persecute, and your God(s) is just a convenient excuse for it. And I will say I believe this to be especially true in the case of gay marriage, given the level of animosity and brutality aimed toward people who simply love who they love.

So follow your religious beliefs all you want. Do or don't do as your religious edicts command. But do not under any circumstances expect to force those same strictures on me, or any of the other billions of people on this planet. Stop trying to legislate your belief into law--scratch that. Stop trying to legislate your hate into law under the guise of religious belief. It will not be tolerated, and those of us who believe in the good of all vs. the good of one group of religious believers will continue to work to ensure that secular rights are applied to everyone, regardless.

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