I have been thinking and studying about this topic for a few days now and its its so fascinating to me. Its not really something I really thought about much before until this Sunday at church. There was a few times when things got very exciting in the room with different thought and opinions on the topic. We had about 45 minutes to discuss it but I feel like we could have gone on discussing it for another 5 lessons. There were a few things said I didn’t agree with and there was also a lot of things that I did agree with.
Religious Freedom means to me; having the freedom to believe without being ridiculed, criticized and attacked by individuals or governments for what you might believe about God. This is something important to people and should be respected.
This is a quote I love from one of the Apostles from my church on a talk tilted
“Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom”
“As prophets foretold about these latter days in which we live, there are many confused about who we are and what we believe. Some are “false accusers … [and] despisers of those that are good.“ Others “call evil good, and good evil; [and] put darkness for light, and light for darkness.” (Robert D. Hales)
As we see those around us make decisions about how they will respond to our beliefs, its important that we don’t forget moral agency is an essential part of God’s plan for all His children. So in other words its okay if someone doesn’t agree with the way you believe, it doesn’t make them wrong and it doesn’t make you wrong because that’s the beauty of free agency.
Now there are people who do get offended if someone publicly displays their religion and become angry. The same people asking to have their viewpoints recognized and tolerated by society are often the same people who are slow to give the same respect to religious believers that ask for their actions and viewpoints tolerated and recognized. Ant that is not fair if we are talking about fairness and equality. How has the definition of equality gone from “the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.” to “The state of denying an individual status, rights and opportunities because you feel like you feel offended, and therefore makes them undeserving”. This issue we are having with religious freedom in the world is slowly influencing people to bow to secular standards, forfeit our religious liberties, and compromise their agency. And that is not how its intended to be.We are all invited, in our capacity as citizens of The united states, to share our personal beliefs with conviction and love every person according to their own will.
Said the Prophet Joseph Smith: “I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination [as for a Mormon]; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.”
What can WE do?
One thing is we can become informed. Be aware of issues in your community that could potentially impact religious freedoms
We can join with others who share our commitment to religious freedom.
Work side by side to protect this freedom, and another things is we can live our lives good examples of what we believe—in how we speak and act. “How we live our religion is far more important than what we may say about our religion”.