Sincerely held belief

We have all heard the term “sincerely held religious belief” in various laws to get special privileges for Christians. And we have seen Pastafarians mess with that law by wearing spaghetti strainers on their heads for drivers license photos. But what you may not be aware of is that the word “religion” is superfluous in those laws.

We’ve also all heard “The Constitution gives us freedom of religion, not freedom from religion”. But that’s not actually true. The First Amendment actually gives us freedom from religious rule BEFORE granting freedom of religion. It starts, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” That’s freedom from religion, first thing on their list.

What this means is there can be no law carving out exemptions specifically for “sincerely held religious beliefs”. According to the very first words in the First Amendment, the correct reading of those laws is simply “sincerely held belief”. It doesn’t have to be a religious belief. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law, so EVERY time an exemption is carved out for religious beliefs it is carved out for ALL beliefs.

To try to hide this from us the laws often include other things, such as philosophical beliefs, to give you the impression that lawmakers have the right to dictate which beliefs are protected and which are not, but they very much do not have that right. All beliefs, religious, philosophical or otherwise, are equal under the law. So ANY right carved out specifically for religious reasons, that right applies to EVERYONE, regardless of religious affiliation or beliefs. You don’t have to invent a religion to enjoy those same rights. ANY belief will do. And that is something the religious right doesn’t want us to know.

I sincerely believe that T rump is destroying the USA. What rights do I have relative to that sincere belief?

Well, you have the right to have it and complain about it. Since we have too many Republicans in power unfortunately even those with the right to legally do something about it don’t actually have the power to make that happen.

I seem to recall that there is a religion in which a psychedelic cactus (whose use is typically prohibited by law) can be used in the ceremonies/rituals of that religion.

Are you saying that if I profess a sincere belief that I need to have a ritual with the psychedelic substance that I have the same right to do so as members of the particular religion?

Normally I would say yes, but I think that particular religious belief is an exception carved out only for a very specific group of people, Native Americans. Laws giving special rights to Native Americans are one of the few “special privilege” examples I have absolutely no problem with, what with the white man still screwing them to this day in many different ways. Such as, “Yes, this land is all yours! But the mineral rights, those are mine, so the big iron monstrosities pumping oil out of your sacred lands aren’t going anywhere. But it’s your land! Do with it what you want!” and “This land is all yours! You just have to let millions of white tourists each year come look at the four white faces we carved into your sacred mountain. But other than the fact you can’t actually do what you want with it, the land is yours!” I also have no problem with Affirmative Action and similar laws, designed to try to get us closer to true equality.

Well, darn it. How can we get over something with this “right” that you described in the opening post? I mean, I can think of one way. When there is something like religious monument on a public site (like a Courthouse) humanists could demand placement of Darwin monument or such. Is there something else?



When there is something like religious monument on a public site (like a Courthouse) humanists could demand placement of Darwin monument or such. Is there something else?

Actually The Satanic Temple (not to be confused with the Church of Satan) is an atheistic organization that protests Christian symbols on taxpayer property and demands statutes of BAPHOMET, etc to make that point



I think a lot of people miss the point, but. …


Google them

Yes, I’ve heard about that. But what else can we get? Can I be a conscientious objector if they try to draft me?

I would think most people here are aware of the nature of Satanism. It’s mostly religious zealots on whom the joke is lost, and it is a pretty good joke. It’s not spaghetti strainer on your head for official photos good, but pretty good. And it does more good than a gag license photo, so there’s that.