Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Robert Boston on Religious Freedom: If It Requires Government "Help" to Enforce It, It's Probably Not Religious Freedom

At Religion Dispatches, Robert Boston talks about his new book Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2014). He notes that he was inspired to write this book as he has watched the religious right seek to expand the notion of religious liberty to apply to private businesses, as the religious right seeks to deny access to birth control to employees under the Affordable Care Act, and to fight for the "right" of private businesses to discriminate against gays.

The RD interviewer asks Boston what's the most important take-home message of the book. He replies,

That religious freedom is a precious and noble concept—but it does not give you the right to control others or make moral decisions for them. Under religious freedom, you can worship (or refrain from worshipping) as you see fit. But you and your co-religionists are responsible for that. If what you are doing requires government "help" to promote, pay for or enforce your doctrines, chances are it's not religious freedom.

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