One Less Myth

Religion and Public Policy

I have the right to advocate for laws and policies that align with my religious beliefs!
Not so fast
You have the right to invite others to believe the same things you do. You even have the right to act on your beliefs
But it can't infringe on anyone else's freedom
The question isn't about having the right to advocate. It's about the harm that results from many religious-based policies
I have the right to freedom of religion! You can't restrict my right to act on my beliefs at all!
That's not completely true. We have a right of speech. And we have a prohibition on laws favoring any one religion. It's not an open-ended right to act on any religious belief even if it harms others
For example, what if a religion wanted to do a child sacrifice? We'd say that their religious right does not allow them to murder children
As with any freedom, religious actions can only be allowed for an individual if it doesn't harm someone else who isn't consenting
Well sure, freedom has to end at harm. But I'm pushing for public policy ideas that I relly believe reduce harm!
If there were evidence to support a public policy proposal, then it's not based on a religious belief. It's just be a rational proposal we could debate
Believing something is best without evidence cannot ethically be the basis of public policy in a country with more than one religious belief system
Well the outcomes are better in my religious group!
There is often a difference in outcomes between a group who willing chooses a rule than a group upon whom that rule is forced
Public policy has to consider the potential impact to the whole of society, not just those who benefit
It can't be based only on a belief that it will be rewarded in a theoretical after life
Would you want to be forced to follow laws based on a religion different from your own?
Of course not. To force others to live by beliefs they don't hold is religious nationalism. It has been the force behind some of the worst genocides and human rights violations in all of human history
Public policy must be rooted in evidence, and must allow people to act on their own beliefs up to the point that they reduce someone else's rights