freedom of religion doesn’t mean much if it protects only those beliefs that the government, or the general populace, decides it likes. It is first and foremost unpopular beliefs that need the protections afforded by the First Amendment and international human rights treaties like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.But religious freedom is not the exact equivalent of free speech rights. Religious practices go far beyond mere speech and can involve things that are otherwise unacceptable for various good reasons. Suppose someone decides to become a worshipper of Moloch, and feels obligated to sacrifice his first-born child. That would be an unpopular belief. Is it protected by the First Amendment? What about religious beliefs that advocate the marriage of adult men to underage children? Do we have to tolerate those practices on behalf of religious freedom? There is no absolute right to religious freedom as Rassbach seems to argue.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Defending Goat Sacrifice?
Eric Rassbach, National Litigation Director at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has an article in today's Wall Street Journal called, "Why I Defend Goat Sacrifice." Rassbach represents a Santeria priest in Texas, and defends his client's " religious practice of killing goats in his home in the Dallas suburbs." Here's the crux of Rassbach's argument: