Does Public Practice of Religion Injure Innocent Citizens?

Copyright © 2004

Robert Howard Kroepel

What are our freedoms?

Among them is, and has to be, liberty, which means freedoms of as well as freedoms from, and one of the freedoms from is freedom from religion.

Thomas Jefferson said: The essence of all law is that no man should injure another; all the rest is commentary.

Injury can be thus defined: Causing the loss of life, limb, liberty, or property of an innocent man.

An innocent man can be thus defined: An individual who intends to cause no injury to another individual who intends to cause no injury to him or to any other individual who does not intend to injure any other individuals.

A criminal can be thus defined: An individual who intends to cause injury [the loss of life/limb/liberty/property] to another individual who does not intend to injure him [except is defense of himself and/or others from criminal injury].

Jefferson's The Essence of All Law can be paraphrased thus:

The essence of all law is that no man should [be allowed to] injure another [innocent man]; all the rest [of the law] is commentary.

Implied in the US Constitution 1st Amendment is freedom of religion, but so also is implied freedom from religion

When religionists practice their religion in public they deny others their right to freedom from religion, therefore religious practice in public places should be restricted/prohibited.

Religionists rarely admit that practicing their religion in public injures other people because it denies those other people their right to be free from religion.

Religionists may claim that their public practice of religion does not harm/injure anyone, but it does.

One of the most important reasons why religion injures others is its insistence that unobserved unboservables--gods--exist, which carries the implication that the unobserved unobservables exist for all people and not for only a few, which carries the implication that those who do not believe in the existence of unobserved unobservables are sinners and morally corrupt and inferior and ... etc. which is an attempt to put a guilt burden on innocent individuals and therefore and thereby injures them.

Religionists have no right to claim that unobserved unobservables exist, that those who do not believe are sinners, are morally corrupt, inferior, etc. because they--the religionists--cannot prove the U/Us exist by showing us a god and making it demonstrate it is a god by performing stunts that show it has superior knowledge and capabilites for using that knowledge than man--i.e. religionists must verify their claims directly by physical evidence and never attempt to verify them indirectly by claiming that answered prayers are proof/the universe is proof/etc. when they cannot prove by physical evidence the connection between gods and the phenomena they claim are indirect evidence of the existence of gods.

Which is worst:

A. Prohibition from public practice of religion.
B. Prohibition from private practice of religion.
C. Prohibition from private as well as public practice of religion.

Obviously, C is worst, B makes no sense because it would permit only public practice of religion, unless such prohibition was part of an extreme socialist regime, therefore A remains as the most benign of these three choices.

When A is a public law/policy, which it should be, because it eliminates the infringement of religionists upon the liberties of nonreligionists and religionists who do not approve of public religious practice, then religionists retain the right to practice religion in private, and in Matt. 6:1-8 Christians are commanded by their mangod, Jesus, to do to refrain from the public practice of Christianity.

St. Matthew [KJV]: 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Why do Christians insist on public practice which their mangod prohibits/forbids?

Religionists cannot claim they have a right to public practice of religion regardless of the injuries to others.

Religionists cannot prove that public religious practice does not injure others when it clearly does by infringing upon and thereby denying them their liberty.

In other cultures, religionists practice their religion in public.

In many respects what other people do in other cultures does not means we should do the same.

The logic in this should be obvious.

When the rights of others to be free from religion and therefore to enjoy the liberty that is freedom from religion is violated/denied/infringed, then those individuals are indeed injured and they have a right to complain and encourage legislation that prohibits such violations/denials/infringements.

There is little restriction on private religious practice--the main prohibition being that no one should be injured, as would be the case when parents injure their children by insisting that gods exist and that the will of the gods will be manifest in the curing or noncuring of diseases and disorders.

Here, again, we find the essence of the law to be that no innocent man should be injured by loss of life/limb/liberty/property and justification for prohibitions against denial for religious reasons of medical treatments which are known to be effective.

From Jefferson's Essence of the Law we derive the following standards for public laws and policies:

1. A public law/policy must benefit all citizens.
2. A public law/policy must injure no innocent citizen.

Inre: #1, a public law/policy prohibiting the public practice of religion benefits all citizens because it gives them freedom from religion.

Inre: #2, a public law/policy prohibiting the public practice of religion injures no innocent citizen because it does not deny him the right to private practice of religion.

An individual who injures the life/limb/liberties/property of innocent others is himself not innocent but instead is guilty of injury to those others.

An individual who injures the liberty of innocent others by public practice of religion is himself not innocent but instead is guilty of injury to those others.

Should we approve of specific restrictions on free speech?

Should anyone have the right to speak of another in false terms? This is prohibited in many legal codes, therefore 'freedom of speech' cannot mean total freedom of speech and therefore there must be limited 'freedom from speech' and the specific laws against false testimony, etc., show that out of necessity freedom from speech in specific circumstances must be observed.

Foul language and obscene gestures in past years has been prohibited from broadcast radio and television and from newsprint, and the American people and their culture did not cease to exist, therefore speech prohibitions can be effective if the people want such prohibitions. This is not denial of free speech, because no one is being denied the freedom to discuss the subject of the content of the speech, and the prohibition is against offensive language--foul language and obscene gestures.

If freedom of speech is to parallel freedom of religion, then freedom from religion ought to parallel freedom from speech.

Why do religionists think they have the right to offend non-religionists by the public practice of religion?

Common courtesy suggests that when an individual knows his actions offend someone else that he ought not commit those actions.

If a gentleman is a man who knows how to play the bagpipes but doesn't, then religionists ought to be gentlemen and practice their bagpipes in private