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Do you feel that "Religious Freedom" should out weight Civil laws that limit religious activities - like marriage, funerary rights, ritual space, etc...

We continually have the argument that because Gay Marriage isn't something that's generally acceptable in a Christian society it shouldn't be allowed legally. And I have seen arguments against public spaces (city or state parks) being used for rituals of religious nature. And I have seen arguments against some forms of burial or whatever, even though those things align with the beliefs of a certain religious group.

So, my question is: Should the "religious freedom" we are all supposed to have in the US, carry a heavier weight than laws that stop religiously linked ceremonies or beliefs?

(Assuming that the religion is accepted as legit my the US - I understand the idea that we can't have people claiming to be god just to have the right to kill, but no nationally recognized religion has ceremony or beliefs that cause physical harm)

What are your thoughts?

Answer Question

Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 10:57 AM on Feb. 7, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • It shouldn't but it does. That lets you know who is pulling all the strings.

    Answer by sugahmamma at 11:00 AM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • I don't see how any of the things mentioned above, if they were legal, would violate someone's religious freedom. Religious freedom should absolutely outweigh any current laws that stop religiously linked ceremonies or beliefs.

    Answer by mommy_lisa25 at 11:06 AM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • How does someone ELSE'S religion / practise, stop you doing yours?

    Answer by Piskie at 11:08 AM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • That was my point... If we have this "religious freedom" why is it that religious beliefs, traditions, and ceremonies are able to be illegal? Plural Marriage, Gay Marriage, Publicly held rituals, bon fires, etc... They have all be out lawed in some areas or the entire US. Here, where I am, we are only permitted to have open fires two days a week. There are fines for those who have fires outside any other time of the week, even for religious reasons. Homosexuals were held in high regard by many native religions, yet, homosexual marriages aren't permitted... The list goes on and on...

    IF something is a belief or tradition of a religion, should we be able to rule against it legally - or does that violate our supposed religious freedom?

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 11:14 AM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • during funerals, marriages etc, it should be the right of the family to decide how they engage in it. If they want a priest or not (if it is acceptable by the religion).. etc.

    But these are all things you can do without religion as well. You options are there to choose from (in most cases, unless we are talking gay marriage, that is still int he process of try to get legal).

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 1:18 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • hazeldove - I get that there are non-religious options for these things. But my point is that when religious beliefs or practices have to be altered simply to fit the common law, shouldn't there be a change in the common law?

    Perfect example is contained fires. As a pagan there are religious reasons to have a fire during some rituals or traditions. Yet, I and others in my area have been fined for having a small fire, within a stone fire circle, on our own property because it wasn't on a Wednesday or Saturday... (which are the only days in my town that you are permitted to have a fire outdoors... Shouldn't the fact that we have the fire for religious ceremony out weight the common laws, which were placed to stop people from burning trash 7 days a week??

    Marriage is another thing. In SOME religions Plural marriage is customary. If this isn't done with children, why is it illegal? Shouldn't religious traditions outweigh laws?

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:44 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • Funerals too, here you are required to have either a casket & embalming or have a mausoleum for the ashes of the cremated person. You are not permitted to keep the ashes of your passed family member in your home. Green Burials are 100% illegal. And unless you donate your body, you are required to be embalmed prior to burial, even if you do not have a funeral. However again, some of these laws force violation of religious beliefs. (embalming more than the others) However, those are the laws... Laws which I might add are very out dated, yet still enforced. Should religious freedom void common laws?

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:49 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • Open fires are not a very good example. That's an enviro. issue. Are you also upset because you can't have open fires during a drought?

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:20 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • Embalming is also for enviro. reasons. Sorry, but I don't want decaying body mixed in with my drinking water.

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:21 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

  • ahh, okay I see what you mean sabrina. .. sorry, now that I reread I get what you are looking at. And yes, I would appeal to my town about the laws of a small fire, as long as it was a contained control fire. If the town doesn't lift it, appeal to your state about it. And it's not always environmental issues that dictate these town laws. A majority of it has to do with people being unable to contain or properly handle a small fire. The best thing to do, would be to have the fire chief or marshal in your district, come down, and help set up a secure and proper fire place with a permit from the town. If they won't issue a permit, then I would go and appeal it.

    Answer by xxhazeldovexx at 5:37 PM on Feb. 7, 2010

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