It Is Time to Reject Religious Bullying by Conservative Christians

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If I had a valid driver's license and adequate funds, I could buy a red car if I wanted to. I could also choose not to buy a red car for all sorts of reasons. I could decide I don't like the color or that I was afraid the color would make me a target for police. I could think back to some bad experiences I had with red cars. There was the time my friend wrecked his red car after hitting an invisible patch of ice. And there was the time a stranger driving a red car fired at least two bullets into a car I was riding in.

Based on these reasons or many others, I could decide I wanted nothing to do with a red car. But what if that wasn't good enough? What if I decided to prohibit anyone else from owning a red car?

Sound far-fetched? I hope so. But this isn't that different from what some Christians have been doing. They aim to restrict others' rights based on their religious beliefs. They don't care what you or I want; they'll take the option away from us.

To be clear, most Christians are not like this. Most religious believers of any variety are not like this. Most value freedom and choice like the rest of us. At least, they do when it comes to their own freedom and choice.

What puzzles me is why anyone would aim to strip rights from others without a damn good reason. I understand that they don't want abortions. Nobody is telling them they have to have abortions. I understand that they don't want to marry someone of the same sex. Nobody has any interest in forcing them to do so. I understand that they don't want to buy beer on a Sunday morning. That's not a problem. What I don't understand is why they work so hard to take these and other choices away from others.

I realize they think some of these things are immoral. Okay, then don't do them! Where they lose me is that they seem to think they have the right to prevent others from doing these things. And remember, we're talking about others who don't share their beliefs.

If you believe that eating bacon is a sin, don't eat it. Making this decision for those who don't share your beliefs is wrong. I'm not going to eat bacon because I find it disgusting, but I won't join you in prohibiting it. Others don't need to abide by my choices. They need to remain free to make their own.

A Christian who opposes something on religious grounds is free not to do it. Consider so-called profanity for a moment. Every Christian should remain free to refrain from using profanity. That would be religious freedom. But prohibiting others from doing so is not religious freedom. In fact, it entails depriving others of their freedom.

What I'd like to see is simple. I'd like all fair-minded religious believers and non-believers to reject religious bullying. After all, that is what we are talking about here. Restricting others' rights based on one's religious beliefs is religious bullying. It is also religious oppression if one prefers that term. We need to reject it. It has no place in a free society.

Christians are free to constrain themselves with their religious beliefs. I see no reason why the rest of us should accept such limitations, especially if we don't share their beliefs. Liberal Christians shouldn't surrender to fundamentalist Christianity any more than atheists should. We should come together and say "enough" of the religious bullying.

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