What one law about religion would you change?

You’re dictator for the day. You’re allowed to remove, alter, or create one law that is somehow related to religion (I’m allowing loose connections as long as you can justify it). What one law would you change, and why?

If you’re not from the US, please make sure to say so in the comments so all us silly US-centric people can understand your new rule better.

Me? I can think of a bunch, but off the top of my head I would remove the tax exempt status of religious institutions. Though making gay marriage totally legal is a close second. The latter would probably follow if Mormons didn’t have so much money to waste on hateful political campaigns.


  1. says

    I would revoke, the tax exempt status of religious institutions. It would destroy the elite and bullying attitudes of religious institutions. Also, it might also resolve our economic problems in the current recession. The only problem with this action, is that it would need to be implemented over time. Also, I’d need the assurance nobody would mess with my laws after I step down from my throne of benevolence.

  2. Mike Hare says

    Gay marriage is a civil issue! But the churches being tax exempt is criminal as far as I am concerned. No one knows how much wealth they control or what they do with it. They should all be regulated as tax paying corporations and fully accountable and auditable.

  3. Alguien de la Calle says

    taxes … and i think they should audit money from churches because is used to money laundry for the mexican narco (sorry for my spelling im kind of new with the language)

  4. Anon says

    What is the difference? The Mormons hate gays and you hate Mormons. Both organizations should strive to convince each other they are worthy instead of trying to eliminating each other via impotent bureaucracy.

  5. says

    Since this is fictional, I don’t mind saying that my first thought is “Religion is now illegal.” This is followed closely by “Religion is allowed, but it is not to be done in public in any way, shape, or form.”These are very controversial things; people will start shouting “That’s limiting freedom”, but I guess that’s why it’s a good thing I’m not a dictator then ;)I put “religious freedom” right up there with “the freedom to be a racist” — there is no freedom to be a racist, racism is basically a crime. Racism is bad for society, and I believe religion is bad for society (I’m an anti-theist, not just an atheist). Based on the way I personally view religion as an anti-theist, I would therefor naturally want to remove it from the population at large, or at least limit it significantly.That might make me a cruel and unusual person to some (most), but I do believe it answers the question.—For the sake of people who would cry “foul” though, my next choice aside from those things that would “impede freedom” would be to revoke the tax exempt status of all religious organizations.

  6. LS says

    I don’t think there are many who are educated on the issue, and understand the delicate nature of lawmaking, who would say anything other than “revoke tax exempt status for churches.”I mean, for all the great laws we could make that would hinder religion doing harm to people, it’s more important to get religion-positive laws off of the books, than it is to get religion-negative laws on the books. Actually, maybe what I would do is start an investigation into modern government-religion relations, and how it functions relative to the constitution. That might be a good way to kill a few birds with one stone. =P

  7. says

    I would say, compulsory critical thinking/logic classes from k-12 and requirements for them to get any kind of degree. Any specific law will fix just that problem, but if we can get people thinking logically and critically we might be able to change the whole thing.

  8. John Small Berries says

    Since people have already covered the taxes thing, I’d get rid of the ridiculous law that alcohol (at least in some states) may not be sold on Sundays.Why should I be forbidden to buy alcohol just because Christians use that day to commemorate someone who liked the sauce himself?

  9. says

    Here in the Netherlands blasphemy has been outlawed since 1932, although nobody has made any attempts to enforce it since the seventies ,when a writer ended up in court. Recently, some politicians (it can be no surprise they were all from Christian political parties) have suggested that the attorney general should start going after blasphemers again.I’d kill that outdated blasphemy law once and for all.

  10. Jos says

    I’m from the Netherlands, so a) churches don’t have full tax exemption here, b) it’s not so easy to call your for profit company a church, and c) gays are allowed to marry here. Having said that, I’d like to limit religious freedom, as advocated by Christopher Hitchens here: http://www.slate.com/id/226615…. People should not be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs to the point that it damages others, including their own children. For instance, I believe it is still legal to withhold polio vaccination from your children in the Netherlands. This led to an epidemy as recently as 1992.

  11. says

    I think I would make it explicit in the constitution that the government is secular and cannot endorse or deny any religious beliefs and must stay out of the question entirely. A secular government can only govern your actions, not your thoughts and beliefs. Too many Christians interpret the wording of the 1st Amendment (no law impeding religious freedom) as meaning “The government cannot tell us Christians that we can’t do whatever we want to”, such that if they are told that they cannot force children to pray in a public, government-run, school they cannot claim their religious freedom is being infringed.OT, but I would start calling “Public” institutions “Government” institutions as well.

  12. Kim says

    You know, it’s not even really a law, but I would enforce the *actual* separation of church and state.

  13. Julien says

    I would remove all references to ‘Religion’ or ‘Freedom of Religion’, i.e. ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion’, and replace them with ‘Freedom of Belief’ or ‘Freedom of Conscience.’People should be free to believe whatever they want, and no one should be forced to alter or hide their beliefs. Religions, however, are organizations, and shouldn’t be exalted over any other beliefs. Vegetarianism, pacifism, or indeed the belief that the universe requires no God, should not be any different legally than the belief in Jesus or Vishnu. Religious organizations, similarly, should be no different in law than any other group that shares a common belief or cause – religious organizations (legally) should be treated exactly as any other private organization or charity.

  14. says

    1) Get rid of all faith-based initiatives. Churches shouldn’t be getting tax money no matter what services they provide.2) Actually enforce the laws on the books and take away tax exempt status from churches that get involved in politics.

  15. says

    I’d go with legalizing gay marriage. Removing tax exemption is nice, lot’s of things are, but allowing gay marriage could make so many people so happy that I’d have to go with that. But I would do it in the context of a new civil rights act that includes equal rights for women and LGBT people including marriage as but one element. Too tangential to religion? I don’t think so, religion is the primary justification given for discrimination against LGBT people, even if the real reason is fear.

  16. John Small Berries says

    Since people have already covered the taxes thing, I’d get rid of the ridiculous law that alcohol (at least in some states) may not be sold on Sundays.Why should I be forbidden to buy alcohol just because Christians use that day to commemorate someone who was called a drunkard himself?

  17. Rex says

    The new amended title will be The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Religion. Religion will be regulated in much the same way as alcohol; it will be consumed only in private, only during certain hours of the day, never in public, never on election day, and absolutely no sharing with minors will be permitted! Oh yeah, no advertisements where minors will be lured by the temptation either!!

  18. says

    If not remove their tax-exempt status entirely, put some heft legislation in place to limit the use of their (I mean tax-payer) funds. Such as:a) Ban all members of parliament from private meetings with church hierarchy, this includes the Prime Minister, his cabinet, or any other MP,b) Ban religious organisations from donating money to political parties,c) Ban religious organisations from advertising on political issues including election campaigns and legislation (and things like gay rights and euthanasia), and this involves things like letter drops or editorials in newspapers,d) Be subject to anti-discrimination laws with no exemptions.e) …If they breach these guidelines, then remove their tax-exemption.

  19. lomifeh says

    I’d not remove tax exempt status as others mentioned. I like anything that enhances the separatiion. What I would do is setup a law to define how that sat us could be lost better. If any member of authority of a religion becomes involved with the political process in a way to influence voters or laws their status is I’m mediately revoked. Right now we have guidelines for that. I’d make it a law with some serious teeth.

  20. Epizephyrii says

    If you’ll forgive a little immature thought, why not call it the Bureau of Firearms, Alcohol, Religion, and Tobacco?*Grin*

  21. Angela says

    I’m a teacher, so I’m going with the atheist version of “SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!1!”1) Remove the religious/ethical exemption from the legal duty to provide proper medical care and vaccinations to children. Instead of a note signed by the parents saying they don’t believe in vaccinations, a letter from a licensed physician detailing why vaccines would negatively impact the child’s health would be required to enroll a child in school without proper vaccinations. Using faith healing or other unproven treatments on children instead of proper medical care would be prosecuted as neglect and homicide if the child dies.2) Make it illegal to teach religion to children under the age of consent. When I asked my second graders on Tuesday if anyone knew where apples are from, one very smart boy who claims he would like to be a scientist when he grows up said, “The Lord.” I had to avoid face-palming in the middle of class (the correct answer, which I didn’t expect them to know & was about to say, is Southwest Asia). He’s going to have an awfully hard time learning science if he’s already this indoctrinated.3) Remove “Under God” from the pledge and “In God We Trust” from the money. They were only added in the 1950’s anyway because everyone was afraid of the “godless communists.” We should be over the red scare by now & we should be enforcing the First Amendment rather than making schoolchildren affirm the existence of the sky fairy every morning.

  22. says

    I’m from New Zealand and I know exactly which religion-related law I would change. I would no longer allow public schools to close down for 1/2 an hour a week to allow an “instructor approved by the School Board” to conduct Religious Instruction. That’s right, Religious *Instruction* not Religious Education (Religious Education is covered by a different part of the Education Act and is IMO totally fine). It’s supposed to be Religious Instruction, but in practicality it’s Bible Instruction only. You can withdraw your child of course, and they have to be supervised in that time. Which means they usually sit in the school library till it’s over. I think it’s well past the time that this was stopped.

  23. says

    From Australia hereI would stop them being able to come into school and running scripture classes at all. And in NSW I’d stop it from being a right they had to have an hour a week to do so!

  24. Screamer77 says

    I’m from Italy… people often think we’re super religious. While it’s true that certain religious principles are part of our culture, I think they are not considered to be anything more than ethical principles, and have lost most of their ‘religiousness’. Also in my experience, in the U.S. people tend to be a lot more religious than we are. Anyway, this is just a little background information …. If I could change anything, I would outlaw religion completely, or at least I would ban it for the most part. People would only be allowed to practice it in certain places at certain times, and they wouldn’t be allowed to spread the word. Oh and absolutely no mentioning of religion, or anything like that to minors. I believe that some people are religious just because they grew up in a religious environment. So, if nobody mentioned or practiced religion in public, then these people would get a chance to form their minds first, and then make a decision.And if the world still wanted to worship a god, that’s what dogs are for…. pretty much the same word, but much better beings!Censorship much? I don’t care, I’M QUEEN OF THE WORLD! :D

  25. Menudo says

    Simple, fundamental:Revert to the National Motto “E Pluribus Unum” instead of “In God We Trust”Corollary: revert to pre-1954 “Pledge of Allegiance” Both changes happened during “religious revivals” the first during the “Second Great Awakening” and the second as anti-Communist jingoism.

  26. says

    My law:It shall be a capitol crime to speak on behalf of God.It would be illegal to say “God hates fags”, or “God wants you to kill the infidel”, or even “God loves you”.You can believe what you want, but you must make clear that this is YOUR opinion, not God’s.BTW, I think making a religion itself illegal would only strengthen it. Always has.

  27. Djinni says

    I like the logical / critical thinking teaching in schools. Though really, kids are supposed to be getting that now. the problem is it comes in too little (just in one or two math / science classes) too late (usually around high school). I would certainly put it a lot earlier, pretty much starting with basic arithmetic.Then i’d go the other direction of the religious instruction / education. i’d require schools to teach each and EVERY religious doctrine (from an expert / religious leader) one or two days per week. so week one – catholic catechism, week two – buddhism, week three – judaism, etc.First, that would put a major boon into every side religion out there from the sikhs to the jains. Second, since the leaders would be teaching as if the children already belong to their religion, the kids would be some completely contradicted and confused about all the little doctrines. And finally, the critical thinking class might suddenly make a whole lot of sense.

  28. says

    See it seems like a good idea to do that. But in practical terms, trying to get a representative of every single religion in the world into every classroom in the country is just not feasible. Best to just have none at all.

  29. says

    Gay marriage is coming despite others’ best efforts, so I wouldn’t waste it on that one.I’d declare a loss of tax exempt status for all property belonging to any religion or religious group–no exceptions. Religions want to play politics? They can pay the admission price, just like everyone else.I would ban all teaching of non-science in science, health, and sex education classes. This rule would be without exception, for all private and public schools that wish to keep their accreditation.

  30. says

    Racism is bad for human relations, but it should never be a crime. The only things that should be crimes are those that involve the initiation of force or fraud. Being prejudicial to someone is wrong, but making racism illegal is no different from making homosexuality illegal. Both are thought crimes, however you may feel about either.

  31. EdenBunny says

    Actually, the separation of church and state is an the supreme court’s interpretation of the first amendment to the constitution, which makes it part of the supreme law of the land. Ironically enough, this amendment is also the one law I would change, by replacing one short phrase with a slightly longer one: I would replace the phrase “prohibiting the free exercise thereof ” with “enforcing, promoting, or protecting at any net expense of rational policy or public welfare any exercise thereof, or any exercise of any related cultural ritual, superstitious belief, or irrational moral guideline.”This would create a much clearer division between church and state, and would probably lead to the overturning of most or all of the laws that others are listing in response to this question.

  32. says

    The above would accomplish 2 great things – it would point out how moronic and religious, e..g, Randroid scientific ignoramus Penn Jilette is. And it would make it easier for people to understand market fundamentalism, as the most extreme part of something that’s already a dogmatic faith.

  33. Tipua says

    I’d like to change a few things, but to start simply, I’d love to add George Carlin’s “Keep thy religion to thyself!” in the number one spot of every religions’ list of commandments.

  34. says

    Agreed.. it’s a completely out-dated system that ran out its usefulness decades ago.In good news, our locale school board (SCDSB) is trying to pass legislation to remove references to God and religion from the boards ethics and morality codes.So basically, instead of telling kids to be good because God says so, they’re being good because mean people suck.

  35. Gabriel Syme says

    Agree entirely. And it hardly makes you a cruel or unusual person, though I certainly concede that that’s how it will appear to most. What I think you might find is that by implementing the aforementioned taxation reforms, many religious institutions will begin to fade away.Some thoughts: – Would you rather have a democratic society where everyone is out for themselves (Alexander Fraser Tytler “A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury”) or a benevolent dictatorship that exists for the betterment of its citizens? “Democracy” and “Dictatorship” have become such one-dimensional buzzwords that people have lost sight of what a government should actually be for. – As an anti-theist, there are plentiful people of all beliefs (or lack of) who accuse you of intolerance and spiteful arrogance. The standard atheist line is (to quote Tim Minchin) “I’ve no problem with the spiritual of all these fuckers while those beliefs don’t impact on the happiness of others”. However, if hold a strong metaphysical belief then that belief WILL influence your interactions and a particularly negative belief will definitely impact on the happiness of others. Such a strong conviction will always have an effect. – The best way to eliminate superstition is not to ban it. Look at the USSR – religion never went away, it was simply pushed underground and into people’s homes. In such situations it tends to become more radical, not less so. What should be done is to identify what people seek in faith and to provide that without resorting to superstition. As people’s need decreases, its power decreases as well.

  36. the__eye says

    Wow, so many people saying they would make religion/religious activities illegal and punishable, even by death. It kind of makes me ashamed, the fact that some atheists can be as bad as the religious nutters. …anyway, I agree with people saying that logic and critical thinking should be taught in schools early on. Children are natural scientists – they are curious and inquisitive and love to experiment – yet science classes up until high school include more memorization than thought and experimentation. It’s such a waste.

  37. LS says

    Jen isn’t suggesting that Mormons should lose any rights, or that anything they do should be made illegal. What she’s suggesting is that they no longer have tax-exempt status. Removing tax-exempt status isn’t an attempt to eliminate the Mormon church (or any church.) The constitution says that the government cannot endorse any religion, and exempting religions from rules which all other organizations must follow is an endorsement of religion. Ergo, tax exemption for the Mormon church is wrong, regardless of any other issues. A side effect of correcting this wrongness would be that it helps a cause that most of us here support–gay rights. But that is not the intent, or the reasoning, behind the imaginary decree. To address another point, you refer to gays as “an organization.” This is an inaccurate description. Gay people may form organizations, but gay people as a whole are no more of an “organization” than women as a whole are, or men, or black people, or white people. The Mormon church, on the other hand, is an organization. It is a group of people working together, with money which belongs to the church rather than to any individual. You might make the argument that individual Mormons are no more of an organization than gays are, but Jen didn’t mention Mormons as a whole. She was referring to the Mormon church. Lastly, why should homosexuals “strive to convince” the mormon church that they are “worthy?” Worthy of what? Equal rights? Since when does being “worthy” of equal rights require any argument more than “I am a human being.”

  38. jimmyboy99 says

    Silly comment: I’m sure Jen does not hate Mormons. Generally we atheists leave all that hating stuff to the theists. They do it so well after all!No: we try to show that rationality and discussion are the way forward – not emotion, and psychological blackmail.Not even sure that “the Mormons” (whoever they might be) hate gays either. Their church definitely has lots of people who hate gays. But lots who don’t too. And their policies are just that: theological policies, which therefore are not capable of emotion. Bigoted, inhumane and immoral – sure. But hatred?Not sure that any gay person has to convince anyone of anything. People who want to implement discriminatory beliefs on the other hand…

  39. GT says

    From the UK, where our new conservative government is actively promoting “faith schools”.I know that the US’s separation of religion and schooling doesn’t work perfectly (cf. evolution vs intelligent design) but encouraging the teaching of religion in the curriculum and promoting segregation of children by faith seems like a huge step backwards.So I’d want to enforce a sectarian education system here.

  40. says

    Another Brit here… I’d want to disestablish the Church of England. What’s going on with out head of government appointing bishops, I mean, What!? I understand the historical reasons, but now it’s just insane.Regarding tax-exemption, for a British spin… in the UK, Charities are exempt from tax (except VAT – equivalent of Sales Tax – on commercial operations), but religious organisations are no longer automatically entitled to charitable status. They have to demonstrate a public benefit, and ‘promoting religion’ is no longer an automatic pass.

  41. says

    Oh, and to comment on the US, my fiancée just mentioned a good one… absolutely forbid the asking, telling, third-party disclosure of religions in connection to politics. Get rid of de-facto religious tests for office!

  42. Mischieveiouslymysterious says

    hhhmmmm… revoke the shariat and ban the religious branch from participating in politics….

  43. says

    I would add laws that prohibit religious harassment. I’ve been religiously harassed by Jehovah’s witnesses, various types of Christians, some Buddhists, some unknown cults, etc… I just want to be free of stupid preachers that sell me bullshit ideas I don’t care! Every time when those religious assholes come near me and try to talk to me, I always free the urge the pull a gun from my pocket and shoot them and then go to their places of worship and burn them down.They are lucky that they are living in modern time in a free country. If I were living in 13th century, I would join Genghis Khan’s army so that I can slaughter all the priests and monks and burn all the churches and temples and religious texts. This way, the world would be free of annoying religion and I could live in my happy and peaceful life forever and ever. Amen.I summon the Boobquake Goddess to bring back the spirit of Genghis Khan to destroy religion. *praying*

  44. jimmyboy99 says

    Do you know anything about Sharia law (other than the well publicised bits that result in hands being cut off, and mysogyny)? The reality is that it works very well at a practical level for resolving village level disputes around land and the like. A really very tiny proportion of the actual practice has anything to do with things which a liberal westerner could possibly find objectionable.I hate faith based law. But why Sharia particularly?Are you sure you aren’t just an ignorant bigot? Why not just object to the objectionable bits?

  45. says

    Unfortunately, revoking the tax exempt status makes church eligible to have a greater participation in the election process. I do not want churches to have the ability to say, vote for Person X or you are going to hell. For the most part, most of the laws about religion I want are on the books. It’s just a matter of enforcing them. The two laws I would want to add is that church would have to open the financial dealings. I don’t care so much about where their money is coming from, but I am more concerned about how it is spent. Open books would help prevent churches from giving money to political activities, by making it easily to detect such dealings. Since as I understand it, giving such money would revoke their tax exempt status. Also, it would also cause more people to see what shams most of these churches are. The second law that I would want to pass is that corporations are not defined as citizens. Considering the court tossed out campaign finance laws, because they ruled that corporations have the right to free speech, and therefor could spend as much money as it wants to influence campaigns, it is only a matter of time before the rules about churches not endorsing political candidates gets tossed as well.

  46. JM says

    Churches are social clubs, more inclusive, at least ostensibly, than most, but social clubs all the same. They should pay tax on their property. Either that or we should form our own churches all over the place: First Atheist Church of Pittsburgh! WooHoo!

  47. JM says

    “Logical” and “critical” aren’t words we can apply to the belief in a Big Daddy in the Sky. If people want logical and critical, they’ll get informed about political, social, and economic issues before they vote. We all know how well that works in this country.

  48. imnotspecial says

    I would like to see all restrictions on abortions lifted and have speaking against abortion declared a hate crime. This would reduce the emotional conflict pregnant women have to deal with. It is only because religious bigots make such a big deal out of abortion that it becomes such a conflict. (Oh, I am killing a baby – no it’s a zygot, for Zeus’ sake.)

  49. Ashton Jacks says

    I would revoke the current right of the Amish and some other groups to keep their kids out of high school. It really seems like a complete violation of freedom of religion to me. When a kid has only been educated up to the 8th grade, what options do they have? Them being allowed to do this make it so difficult for young people to leave if they desire. If they object to high school so much, why don’t they just get a GED and be done with it? I’m sure lots of 8th graders could pass. Maybe not all. The ones that can’t could then go to 9th and 10th grades and on until they can pass it or complete high school the traditional way.

  50. Rollingforest says

    Are you sure you aren’t just overreacting? Fine, we’ll only object to the objectionable bits. But seeing as those objectionable bits include stoning people, they seem pretty important to object to.

  51. Jeffpurser says

    No, racism is not a crime. You are entitled to hold whatever beliefs you want. It’s only when you take actions which our society has deemed to be unacceptable that you may run afoul of laws which prohibit such behavior.

  52. jimmyboy99 says

    The problem is that we in the west tend to know bugger all about Sharia other than what we read in the tabloids. And that isn’t really very accurate. The stoning people and cutting their hands off etc is really not a part of Sharia for the very, very large majority of people involved in it and governed by it. Of course those things are disgusting. But would you ban the whole US legal system because it allows Guantanamo? No – you might object to the bits of the US legal system that allowed authority for Guantanamo to be handed outside of normal judicial controls.It’s easy to scream about Sharia. But it’s more impressive if you actually know something about it. I’m no expert but I have actually seen it in action in W and Central Africa and it works very well – given the limitations of societal mysogyny which are there with or without Sharia. So no – not sure I did over react: I think the original poster who suggested that those who practice a legal system that very largely deals with village level disputes, distributing very reasonable punishments in almost all cases, at very accessible cost levels, should be punished with death might possibly fall into the stupid/bigoted/ignorant/twattish category…

  53. cat says

    “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” An establisment of religion having a church state or having government sponsorship of a religious idea or practice. The problem that many people have is that they don’t understand that these parts of our constitution were written in the 1700s with 1700s English. This part of the Constitution is meant to be explicit and contain explicit language, but people just make really dumb reasoning (like if this line is there for free exercise of religion, how come the very next line is ‘or prohibiting free exercise thereof’?). The US constituion also forbids any religious test for any public office or trust, and anything government funded counts as a public trust. You could argue that tax excemptions for religion constitute a religious test for a public trust (taxation purposes) or ‘an establishment of religion.Freedom of belief/freedom of conscience can cause issues too, just look at the application of the latter by pharmacists refusing birth control. And, do you really think that a person who believes that poor people are evil should seriously be considered to run medicaid or a similar program?”Vegetarianism, pacifism, or indeed the belief that the universe requires no God, should not be any different legally than the belief in Jesus or Vishnu.” Yes, and this is where 14th amendment issues like ‘equality under the law’ and ‘due process’ as well as free speech come in.

  54. cat says

    ” I do not want churches to have the ability to say, vote for Person X or you are going to hell.” They routinely do this with both issues and candidates already. It is never punished. So removing the technical law means nothing, because it changes nothing about practice.

  55. cat says

    I agree with someone else who pointed out the ban all relgions/religious speech/ kill people lines are disturbing.Moving on, let’s look at the list:1) remove diplomatic immunity from religious figures (not regular diplomats who are just religious, but actual religious figures). This would allow criminal charges against and lawsuits against the Catholic church hierarchy for its involvement in the rapes of children.2) ensure the freedom of religion for children and the rights of children to not be violated on the basis of religion (no beatings, denial of education, denial of medical care)3) I know it’s been said before, but remove tax exemption. I think that his already violates the constitution, but an actual law would get rid of it quicker.4) make it clear in the law that ‘christian traditional’ or anything similar is not enough to count as a rational purpose for discrimination under the 14th or 5th amendment.

  56. jimmyboy99 says

    You’d fit right into any totalitarian regime. Lovely. You seriously want to restrict freedom of speech on an issue as emotive as abortion? We have some posts on this thread that demonstrate some deeply illiberal fuck-wittery of the first order.If you believe that a human is a human because it has a soul then abortion becomes murder. QED. If you believe that abortion is murder then it is your absolute duty to speak and act against it. How could you not and still sleep at night?I dont happen to believe those things, because I don;t believe in souls and I take a biological approach to this matter, but I think that rational debate with those disagree is likely to be the way forward. Likewise pointing out when their methods start to represent totalitarianism is important. If we just adopt those methods ourselves…? Why is inflicting our view any better then any religious group inflicting their view? Because we are right and they are wrong?

  57. Ray says

    Also, I wish I could pass a law saying that people can believe whatever crazy shit they want, but one person’s religious beliefs do NOT impose any obligations on anyone else, to respect the beliefs, accommodate them, support them financially, or whatever. I.e. you can exercise your religion (to the extent that you don’t violate anyone else’s rights), but then you have to accept the consequences. Want to wear a burqa? Fine, then you don’t get to have a driver’s licence, fly on a commercial airplane, etc.

  58. Hayes says

    Euthanasia. Although this is not directly a religous law, in Australia at least, it is religous organisations such as the ACL that lobby heavily and prey on the laziness and electoral focus of politicans to ensure it doesnt happen.Tax exempt status of religious organisations is vital to address at some stage – but i think the probability of something happening with this in our life times is pretty slim. Considering someone like hitchens hasn’t been able to make this happen – i shudder to think of astoundingly brilliant person or people that CAN make this happen.

  59. Keeley says

    Yeah, the existence of the Toronto Catholic School Board really bothers me. A government-funded group of schools that restricts their students to only those whose parents can prove they’re Catholic? NOT OKAY!(As a side-note, most of the schools don’t restrict the staff completely to Catholics only – they only require teachers of Religion to be Catholic.Speaking of which, the government is funding overt religious education by funding these schools. Damnit this annoys me. I’m totally going to make suer the nearest shcool to me is Catholic when I have kids and they reach school-age,and fight tooth and nail to get rid of the enrolment restritions.

  60. Marie says

    Actually, that’s what people are doing in Quebec (Canada) now. The old (catholic) religion course has been replaced by an introductory course to world religions. I think it’s a great idea, although obviously not all religions will be covered.

  61. James D says

    As a Brit, I’d let the Queen believe whatever the heck she liked (even if it’s that the Pope has a direct line to God and his ministers can turn crackers into deities) and disestablish the Church of England.

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