Originally Posted by Kentak
Religious people have the right to hold and observe those beliefs and values their faith requires of them.
My issue is when they want to use the authority of government via force of law to impose the effect of those beliefs on everyone else, even those who hold different views.
For example, orthodox Jews don't conduct business during the Sabbath. They would, for example, close a retail store they own. If you were a Christian retail store owner who does business in a Jewish community, how would you feel if the city council mandated all businesses close on the Jewish Sabbath or other holy days? You'd probably have the attitude of, "Hey, do what you want with your own business, but I have a different belief about that issue. Why should I be forced to follow your beliefs?"
Strict Muslims forbid women from going out in public alone or unless wearing severe head and other body coverings. Should a Muslim community make it illegal for all women to violate those rules in their community, even those who are not Muslim? That's not religious freedom, that's religious dictatorship.
Many Christians believe that life is sacred from the moment of conception. Therefore, they believe abortion is wrong under virtually all circumstances. Fine, don't have an abortion. But, by wanting to make abortion illegal for all, they are imposing their religious beliefs on everyone--just as the Jews or Muslims in the above hypothetical examples would be. The issue of opposing government funding for abortions is a separate matter and a legitimate area of political discussion. Opposing the funding is okay, opposing the legality of abortion is imposing the effect of a religious belief and not, in my view, consistent with the concept of liberty.
Sodomy? Homosexuality? Same sex marriage? Fine, if your religion believes those things are wrong, here's the answer: Don't be a homosexual, don't engage in sodomy or other homosexual acts, and don't enter into a same sex marriage. Problem solved. You're living your life according to your beliefs. But, why should you prevent, by law, other consenting adults from expressing their sexuality differently? Is that the proper function of government for free people? I maintain it is not.