Front Page Forums Rights Right to religion


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    The proposed right:

    No person shall be deprived from the peaceful practice of religion, atheism, or agnosticism.

    Note: an alternative name could be “right to personal belief”


    The right to religion, which is also a right to non-religion, applies to government-person and person-person relations.

    This right prevents interference with the practice of a religion or non-religion, so long as that practice is peaceful, meaning it does not violate any rights and is in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.

    The peaceful limitation is important. If a person’s religious practice involves a violation of rights or unlawful behavior, such as calling for violence, making threats of violence, or actual violence against people or property without consent, that non-peaceful practice is not protected.

    The word “deprived” is intended in the sense of “to take away” permanently. Laws, regulations, and policies affecting the peaceful practice of religion must be limited to specific conditions such as times, places, or activities, such that they do not deprive people from the peaceful practice of religion. This is important as it means the government and also people and corporations are not required to accommodate religious people in every way, but if the total effect of society is depriving people of the peaceful practice of a religion, then something must be done to resolve that situation to avoid violating the right to religion.


    The right to religion and non-religion specifically protects a person’s religious liberty with some limitations. It is a complement to the right to civil government which protects people from having religious beliefs imposed on them via the state.

    The right to religion only means that the government, and other people, are prohibited from depriving a person of the peaceful practice of their religion. It does not mean that the government or other people are required to accommodate a person’s religious practices. If a person’s religious practices are incompatible with the rules of a facility or an organization, that person must make a choice if they want to be there and participate or not. If a person’s religious practices limit the activities in which the person can participate, intentionally or unintentionally, that does not constitute deprivation.

    Some organizations might make an effort to accommodate certain religious practices, but they are not required to accommodate all religious practices. However, to avoid violating the right to equal opportunity, organizations that choose to accommodate some religious practices should do it as a broad rule so that any similar practices in other religions would also be accommodated, or that certain accommodations could be swapped for something similar. For example, if a job requires working 12 hours a day 7 days a week but makes an exception for Christians to attend religious services on Sunday morning for 4 hours, the rule should not be “Christians can go to church on Sunday”, it should be “everyone gets 4 hours time off in 15 minute increments” so that the same rule could allow Jews to take their 4 hours in two parts, 2 hours on Friday evening and 2 hours on Saturday morning, and for Muslims to take their 4 hours in 15-minute prayer breaks to accommodate the daily prayer times that coincide with work hours. An atheist, or a non-practicing Christian, Muslim, or Jew, could just take their 4 hours whenever they want and do whatever they want during that time. The organization could require people to schedule their personal breaks for the entire week in advance.

    Another consequence of the right to religion is that the government must not regulate religious marriage. In the United States, a couple must obtain a “marriage license” to be married and the couple then receives a “marriage certificate”. However, marriage is a religious term with a religious ceremony. It should not be regulated by the government at all. If the government needs to know who is living together and who are the members of a family, the government needs to get that information in a secular way. If the government chooses to give any benefits or incentives for people to reproduce, or if the government chooses to tax or disincentivize reproduction, that needs to be done in a secular way and not related to marriage. The terms husband and wife are religious terms. The government needs to use terminology like “head of household” to indicate the person primarily responsible for financial reporting or the primary contact for the household, and “adult” or “partner” instead of husband and wife or instead of spouse to indicate all adults in the house, and “minors” or “dependents” to indicate any children in the house.


    The military has regulations on hair styles for males. That regulation is not religious in nature. If a certain religion has a requirement for adhering males to have a hairstyle which is not compatible with the military’s regulations, the male must make a choice of either being in the military and conforming to regulations, or not being in the military. The military would not be required to amend its rules because they are limited in time (only while on active duty and wearing the uniform), and also because military service is voluntary.

    If there is a need to mobilize for war, people with religious restrictions must find ways to serve that are compatible with their religion, or temporarily stop adhering to them and join the fight to protect the country and protect their right to religion. Conversely, if there is a need to mobilize for war, the military might temporarily suspend certain policies, or make exceptions, in order to be more inclusive and recruit more soldiers. In any case, the government is not required to accommodate anyone’s religious preference — the government is merely required to not deprive someone of their peaceful religious practice.

    A public school has a policy that students are not allowed to wear hats. This could include a Jewish kippah or Muslim taqiyah. To avoid depriving a religious student of peacefully practicing their religion which requires wearing a kind of hat, the policy must be limited. The policy could include a limitation that it applies only indoors and students are allowed to wear hats outdoors. The policy could include a limitation that head-wear is allowed indoors only if it does not have a bill and it is one solid color and does not cover the face or the ears. If the school’s reason for the policy can be achieved with such limitations, then it should be so limited to avoid violating rights.

    A restaurant has a policy that every food dish on the menu must include bacon. All the food is prepared in advance and the restaurant always denies customer requests to modify a menu item. The restaurant does not need to accommodate Jewish and Muslim customers with bacon-free items because such customers can eat at another restaurant that does not have the same policies. Jewish and Muslim people are not deprived because other restaurants are available that serve bacon-free food, and also because this particular restaurant does not allow any customers to request modifications. They have a choice to eat somewhere else.

    A clothing store has a sign that says “no Jews allowed” or “no Muslims allowed”. Other clothing stores don’t have such a sign. The store with the sign seeks to prevent Jews or Muslims specifically from being customers or using a bathroom. This is clearly a violation of the right to equal opportunity because the prohibition is targeted at a religion and attempts to deprive people who peacefully practice that religion of something. Furthermore, if no alternative facility is available, this can also be reasonably interpreted as an attempt to deprive such people of their ability to peacefully practice their religion by causing an unnecessary hardship and in that case it would also be a violation of the right to religion.

    A private religious school or daycare promotes Jewish beliefs and practices. Such a religious school cannot be a public school due to the right to civil government. The school requires all students to wear a kippah as a Jewish practice. A parent enrolls their Christian child. The child is not Jewish, and therefore doesn’t wear a kippah. The school could amend its policy that all students wear a kippah to say instead that all Jewish students must wear a kippah as part of their Jewish education, and leave it as optional for the Christian student. However, as in the bacon restaurant example, the standard for private organizations is different than the standard for a government operated facility such as a public school. The school could keep a strict policy that all students wear a kippah, and because that policy is not targeted at any religion in particular but all students, and because the kippah is a Jewish practice and the school is a private Jewish religious school, it makes sense to have a rule that is in alignment with Jewish practices. And because there are public schools available and other private schools available, including Christian public schools, the school’s strict policy would not deprive the Christian student of the peaceful practice of Christianity.

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