“Freedom” is such an interesting word. For many Libertarians “freedom” means that the rich should be free from governmental constraints, but it does not mean that the poor should be protected from the rich with labor unions and living wages. For many religious people, “freedom” means that their own religion should be free from governmental constraints, but it does not mean that people outside their religion should be free from them. Many religions are all too willing to take away the rights of others based on what they believe. Still they talk about “freedom”.

When hierarchal religions speak about freedom, they are bound to be a self parody. Heirarchies deny freedom by definition. For example, most Catholics believe in contraception, but the Bishops do not see the concept of “freedom” as applying to them. It gets even messier when sectarian religions want to be part of the public arena, and yet, do not believe in universal human rights, or only in human rights as they define them.

So the Catholic Bishops who would not allow women to rule in their own hierarchy, nor for gays to be married even out of it now claim that there is a war on their religious freedom. Rev. Barry W. Lynn, head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State summed it up pretty well when he said that church-affiliated agencies operating on taxpayer dollars should follow public policy guidelines.

“When taxpayers are forced to support sectarian agencies that refuse to meet the needs of women, gay people and other communities that’s a real violation of religious liberty,” Lynn said. “If the bishops want to run sectarian social services, they ought to collect the money from their parishioners, not the taxpayers.”

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