Religious Status Is for Those Who Help
At a time when it seems like an impossible task to determine which sources of information one can trust, and when anything resembling objective truth is gunned down by whoever can shout their rhetoric with the most force and velocity, it’s refreshing to be able to support a clear statement of right and wrong. And when so many competing voices and viewpoints are jockeying for social and cultural supremacy, the rule of law often seems to be the only place where the rubber meets the road in terms of defining what kind of world we’re living in.
Laws should make sense. They should protect the vast majority of people who are living their lives in a way that is moral and respects others. And they should protect that majority from the covert, underhanded manipulation that is the stock in trade of that small group of people who truly wish to harm.
Reading this recent article about a jailed neo-Nazi trying to hide behind “religious freedom” to protect his hate speech reinforced my faith in our collective ability to differentiate between legitimate arguments and specious ones—between those worth protecting and those who would go to any lengths to hurt others so they themselves could somehow feel strong.
It’s refreshing to see the voices of reason clearly putting antisocial people in their proper place.
In traveling around the world from a young age, one pattern I’ve noticed is that people are often apprehensive about things they have never experienced before. It makes sense. Survival depends on our ability to understand our environment and make the best possible decisions from that understanding. When you enter a variable into that environment you’ve never experienced before, it’s wise to be cautious.
But that caution can sometimes turn into an unwillingness to observe in detail what’s right in front of us. We decide we know all about something and why we have to be careful with it before we’ve even given it a chance. As the saying goes, it’s very difficult to fill a cup that’s already full.
At times, I’ve observed this phenomenon when discussing Scientology with people. I’ve had people confuse it with Christian Science. I’ve had them repeat any number of strange things they picked up from the tabloid media or the internet. But when I give them specific examples of what it’s meant in my own life, the response inevitably is two things: 1) I had no idea and 2) that sounds really cool!
So when evil people try to take advantage of laws meant to protect legitimate faiths (especially those that most need protecting because they are new or outside the mainstream) by pretending to be something they clearly aren’t, it’s refreshing to see the voices of reason clearly putting antisocial people in their proper place, which, in this case, means behind bars and isolated forever to the lunatic fringe.