Ignorant About The First Amendment? Miss Liberty Answers Your Questions Right Here

Ignorant About The First Amendment? Miss Liberty Answers Your Questions Right Here

Miss Liberty helps readers solve everyday dilemmas using the principles of liberty enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, with a little dose of common sense.
Jayme Metzgar
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It’s time again for “Ask Miss Liberty”! As you know, Miss Liberty helps our readers solve everyday dilemmas using the principles of liberty enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, with a little dose of common sense. Today we’re talking about the freedom of religion, which last time we checked is still protected under the First Amendment. Let’s see what questions our enlightened and forward-thinking readers have about religious liberty!

Complaints From Mennonite Country

Dear Miss Liberty,

There is a church down the road with which I disagree. They teach that women should wear head coverings! I’m wondering what I should do. Should I 1) try to pass a law banning women from wearing head coverings, 2) lobby the county zoning board to zone them out of existence, or 3) maybe send them a few bomb threats? Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Sincerely, Confused in Mennonite Country

Dear Confused,

Surprising as it may seem, you shouldn’t do any of those things you mentioned. All of those acts are coercive in nature. You’re trying to make them abide by your religious beliefs about head coverings, either by using government force or through violence. Instead, why not talk with them and try to persuade them to see things your way? If they still don’t listen, you could try just leaving them alone.

Dear ML,

Okay, I got your reply, but I’m still confused. You say I’m trying to make them abide by my religious beliefs, but I don’t have any “religious beliefs” as such. I just think that head coverings are oppressive to women and that God would never want that!

Dear Confused,

Sounds like a religious belief to me!

Dear ML,

Fine, but if I just leave them alone, doesn’t that mean I agree with women wearing head coverings?

Dear Confused,

No. You can disagree with someone’s beliefs and still decide to just let them live their lives. You can even fully support their dignity as humans and their freedom as Americans, all while disagreeing with them. Amazing but true! Unless they start trying to force you to wear a head covering, they’re not really harming you.

Dear ML,

But isn’t it harmful that I have to see those women in head coverings all the time? Isn’t that violating my rights? 

Dear Confused,

No.

Concerns From The Church Pew

Dear Miss Liberty,

I went into a church the other day, and the preacher was talking about other religions. He had the effrontery to claim that other religions were false and his religion was true. My question: isn’t that racist? Sincerely, Open-Minded

Dear Open,

Probably not. Religion is not the same thing as race. Here’s how to tell the difference: Religion is a system of beliefs, specifically beliefs about the divine. Race, as we commonly use the term, refers to ethnicity and one’s physical genetic makeup. If the preacher was criticizing another religion, that probably has nothing to do with race. In fact, it’s pretty common for religions to claim some sort of exclusive truth, which is at odds with other faiths. This is just a part of free and open religious dialogue, which has always flourished in America.

Dear ML,

But Muslims are a race, right?

Dear Open,

No. Islam is a religion, and people of many different ethnicities adhere to it.

Dear ML,

But I don’t get it, shouldn’t we be accepting of all people and religions? This is America.

Dear Open,

Yes, in America, people of all religions should be free to practice their faith without government interference. But that doesn’t mean that religions or religious people are immune from being criticized. In fact, it is an intrinsic part of religious liberty, as well as the freedom of speech, for people to be able to criticize the ideas of any faith.

Dear ML,

But I guess what I’m saying is, shouldn’t preachers stop criticizing Islam or Muslims? Because that’s racist.

Dear Open,

SIGH.

Letters From A Peeved Pork Lover

Dear Miss Liberty,

Hey, I heard you were talking about Muslims. So, I have a question. A guy in my hometown runs a catering business, and he used to cater my birthday pig roast every year. But now he converted to Islam, and he says he won’t do the pig roast for me anymore. He said it violates his conscience since pork is unclean. Isn’t that discrimination? He’s not allowed to turn me away like that, is he? Sincerely, Peeved Pork-Lover

Dear Peeved,

I know it sounds crazy, but couldn’t you just find another caterer?

Dear ML,

I guess I could, but it seems wrong. This guy is running a business serving the public and shouldn’t be allowed to turn people away. Now I’m emotionally distressed, and my birthday is ruined. For the greater good, I think I should slap him with a lawsuit that ruins him financially and drives him out of business. Doesn’t my right to get a roasted pig from whomever I choose matter more than some religious person’s conscience?

Dear Peeved,

No.

Feeling Triggered By Condemnation

Dear Miss Liberty,

I was reading some guy’s post online, and he said that people who don’t believe in his church’s teaching will be “condemned.” Wow. Just wow. Isn’t that hate speech or something? Can I call the police? Can I pass a law to make sure these people aren’t allowed to vote or hold office? I am concerned about such hateful people influencing our children or our future. Thanks for your help! I know you care about liberty, and so do I. Sincerely, Triggered

Dear Triggered,

Did this guy come to your house wielding weapons? Did he tell you that if you didn’t convert, he would harm you in some way? Did you ask him to leave your house, but he wouldn’t leave? If so, then yes, you should call the police.

Dear ML,

Just to follow up, no, he wrote a blogpost and said that God would condemn me.

Dear Triggered,

Okay then. Well, my advice is to decide whether you believe in his God or not. If you do, by all means, repent and be saved. If you don’t believe in his God, and this guy isn’t trying to force you to convert, then who cares what he is saying? Just ignore it.

Dear ML,

But if he disagrees with my religion, doesn’t that mean he’s getting ready to oppress me?

Dear Triggered,

Why would you think that? You think that because that’s what you would do, isn’t it?

Dear ML,

Maybe. Don’t you think I should make sure people of this religion never get elected or appointed to anything, just in case?

Dear Triggered,

It’s okay to campaign against them and vote against them, sure.

Dear ML,

Actually, I’m a U.S. Senator and I was planning to make sure that nobody of this belief system gets confirmed for any office. Not even, say, a budgeting office which has nothing to do with religion.

Dear Triggered,

Sorry, but as a member of Congress, you’re bound to abide by Article VI of the Constitution. You can’t police the religious views of people who are being considered for offices in the federal government.

Dear ML,

Darn it, the Constitution? Is that thing really still relevant?

Dear Triggered,

Yes. 

Stay Tuned For More Letters

Got a question for Miss Liberty? Write it down, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope, and shoot it up into the sky with your Independence Day fireworks! Or, simply place it into the talons of your nearest bald eagle.

Jayme Metzgar is a Senior Contributor at The Federalist.

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