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Kentucky Advances Religious Freedom Act

Kentucky Advances Religious Freedom Act

Add Kentucky to the growing list of states confused about how the First Amendment works.

On a 6-0 vote, the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill that approves a constitutional amendment that sponsors say is designed to protect the free exercise of religion from unnecessary restriction by government. The bill would “prohibit any human authority from burdening actions that are based on religious beliefs, except in support of a compelling governmental interest using the least restrictive means to further that interest.”

Sponsor Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, said it would give courts “more ammunition in favor of religion” when considering cases like Christians in Bell County who want to hold public prayer at school athletic events.

Voters would have to approve the change to the state Constitution.

Alabama already has adopted such a constitutional amendment and North Dakota is considering one as well. The ability to freely exercise one’s religious rights is clearly enshrined in our Constitution. But the ability to proselytize and compel others to be a part of religious worship and faith is not. This is the distinction Kentucky, Alabama, the Catholic Bishops, and the Republican party seems to miss.

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140 comments

+ add your own
6:35PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Noted

8:20PM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Joan E. said, “My challenger also said that nearly everyone in the nation was Christian at the time of the founding.”

Your challenger doesn’t know much about history. Here’s part of the text of a letter George Washington sent “to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island (Touro Synagogue) in 1790.

“The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for giving to Mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens.

“May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.

“May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

1:29AM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

Good ridance to this Christanity obsessed country. This is just one step in the right direction. It's an obvious bias to only worry about one belief when there's so many others to beguin with. Other religions are affected by this too.This should keep their religious zealotry in line.

9:30PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

It doesn't make a difference, only the ignorant and weak-minded allow others to proselytize them, especially through such simplistic tactics as prayer in school. And these laws are being passed in states that are already largely Christian and filled with fundamentalists anyway. Those who can rise above religious dogma merely have to ignore it when it shows up and recognize it as totally inconsequential.

6:19PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Diana: your sentiment is dead on, but your historical precedents are a tiny bit off. I think it more likely that it was the Reformation and Counter Reformation and the bloodshed of the 16th-18th centuries over state sponsored religion that probably had more to do with it. The Salem Witch Trials were a different matter. The witch hunts and inquisition were a complicated matter of hysteria that actually was rooted, if you haven't looked into it, in anti-semetism! That is a huge can of worms unto itself. But the inquisition was mostly about jews, not dissenters to RC. Essentially, the RC was forcing conversions on Jews. Most of them got by through pretending to be christian and keeping their own religion/culture behind closed doors. the inquisition sought Jewish "pretenders" to christianity and killed large numbers of those they discovered. It was only much later, during the counter reformation, that this focus shifted.

5:04PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

"Freedom of religion" doesn't mean just freedom of CHRISTIAN religion; NOR does it mandate that one must HAVE a religion - it also means freedom FROM religion, if such is your mindset!

And the separation of church and state is based upon past experience with the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Salem Witch trials. When any one religion thinks they should have control over the lives, beliefs, and even thoughts of an entire population, HORRENDOUS, evil things happen to innocent people!!!

Get in MY face with your opinions and your personal mythos, and I will punch you in YOUR nose!

12:44PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

(Con't. - And sorry for duplication and, so to speak, "copying errors."):

BTW, I acknowledged that the earliest existing manuscripts may
be true copies. Others probably are not. That would be difficult
to prove, I would suspect.

I also hope I made clear that I do consider the New Testament
to have spiritual validity. Just neither absolute historical
authority nor literal, divinely authored, inerrantly transmitted
"Truth." One part of the New Testament that I take quite
seriously and literally is Paul's statement, in 2 Corinthians,
that the letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit (i.e., Love)
liberates.

Finally, like most Adventists (inc. some in-laws), despite
disagreements, I respect the tenor and honesty of Samuel's
comment.

12:40PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

(Cont.)
Again, none of this disproves Jesus' historicity. Although that is
in dispute, I believe in it. I do not believe in direct Divine authorship
and inerrant transmission. I believe such literalism, regarding both
the New and "Old" Testament is responsible for all kinds of
mischief and Un-Christlike Christian behavior.

BTW, I acknowledged that the earliest existing manuscripts may
be true copies. Others probably are not. That would be difficult
to prove, I would suspect.

I also hope I made clear that I do consider the New Testament
to have spiritual validity. Just neither absolute historical
authority nor literal, divinely authored, inerrantly transmitted
"Truth." One part of the New Testament that I take quite
seriously and literally is Paul's statement, in 2 Corinthians,
that the letter of the Law kills, but the Spirit (i.e., Love)
liberates.

Finally, like most Adventists (inc. some in-laws), despite
disagreements, I respect the tenor and honesty of Samuel's
comment.

12:37PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Respectfully, the oldest known Gospel manuscript
fragment is a card-sized portion of the Gospel of John (the
John Ryland's manuscript, P(52)), dated to 125 C.E.

Among all pre-, early- and medieval-Church manuscripts (125 CE-
1500), there are approx. 400,000 variations, which is more than
there are words in the New Testament. Many are truly minor,
inc. minor copy copying omissions and other errors; a number are
substantive, inc. the ones in the canonical versions I had in mind
in my prior comments. Among the latter disagreemnts are the implied
date and location of Jesus' birth.

(Continued ...)

12:25PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Respectfully, the oldest known Gospel manuscript
fragment is a card-sized portion of the Gospel of John (the
John Ryland's manuscript, P(52)), dated to 125 C.E.

Among all pre-, early- and medieval-Church manuscripts (125 CE-
1500), there are approx. 400,000 variations, which is more than
there are words in the New Testament. Many are truly minor,
inc. minor copy copying omissions and other errors; a number are
substantive, inc. the ones in the canonical versions I had in mind
in my prior comments. Among these latter errors are the implied
date and location of Jesus' birth.

Again, none of this disproves Jesus' historicity. Although that is
in dispute, I believe in it. I do not believe in direct Divine authorship
and inerrant transmission. I believe such literalism, regarding both
the New and "Old" Testament is responsible for all kinds of
mischief and Un-Christlike Christian behavior.

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