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    The right to religion, which is also a right to non-religion, means that the neither the government nor private organizations can force a person to say or do religious things.

    The right to religion or non-religion prohibits government and non-government organizations from imposing a specific religious belief or non-belief on people — customers, employees, students, vendors, or anyone else. Imposing here implies a lack of consent. People who attend religious services or send their child to a religious school are consenting. However, it cannot be assumed that the general public consents to such treatment. Therefore, only organizations that self-designate as religious organizations may require that their employees, customers, students, etc. must have certain religious beliefs. The right to religion and non-religion means the government is prohibited from being a religious organization.

    Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” The right to manifest one’s religion in teaching it to others ends where their right to not have a religion imposed on them begins. The right to practice one’s religion ends wherever that practice might violate the rights of another person or the laws enacted by government, so long as those laws have a reasonable purpose besides suppressing a specific religion.

    Companies may cater to people with a specific religious belief, for example making products related to that religion. This does not impose the religious belief on anyone else because the public is free to not purchase those products. Companies that cater to one religious belief are not obligated to cater to any other religious belief. This means companies are free to choose which products and services they create and sell. However, companies may not discriminate in who they sell those products and services to. Conversely, customers may not impose their beliefs on companies. A customer may choose to buy a product or service from one company or another, but cannot force (through lawsuit) a company to offer any product or service that it doesn’t currently offer — this principle extends beyond religion.

    In the United States there was a famous case in 2012 of a bakery (Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado) who refused to make a custom cake for a gay wedding. In this case, the baker refused to make the custom cake because of the baker’s own religious beliefs. The frustrated customers sued for discrimination, claiming that the baker refused to make a cake for them that the baker would make for anyone else, only because of their sexual orientation. This was wrong — if the gay couple had ordered a heterosexual wedding cake, the kind the baker actually did make for other couples, the baker would not have objected. If the baker did object to making a heterosexual cake for a gay couple, that would have been a clearer case of discrimination because the customer was interchangeable. Along the same lines, if a heterosexual couple had ordered a gay wedding cake, the baker would have refused that order as well. A non-religious business gets to choose what product to make, but does not get to choose who the customer is based on their religion because that would be imposing a religious beliefs on others without their consent — meaning to buy from that business they must profess to believe something they don’t, or profess not to believe something they do.

    In the United States of America, the right to religion means the pledge of allegiance must revert to the prior form “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands — one nation, indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.” Notably, the words “under God” must be omitted because that is a specific religious belief, is not required for patriotism, and its inclusion in the national pledge of allegiance makes that pledge hypocritical because it both claims the nation is indivisible and includes divisive language, implying only God-believers can be patriots.

    In the United States, the right to religion means the motto “In God We Trust” must be replaced with something else. Surely wise and clever people can come up with something to replace it. To get that conversation started, here are a few suggestions: “Vigilance. Courage. Truth.” or “Give me liberty or give me death” or “Fighting for liberty since 1776”.

    Everywhere that motto is currently displayed or rendered must be replaced, such as official seals and currency. The right to religion and non-religion means the currency of the country must not have references to religion. Believers have a right to believe, but putting religious phrases on official documents, including currency, is imposing that religion on others and violates their right to believe whatever they believe without someone, especially the government, imposing other religious beliefs on them.

    In the United States of America, the right to religion means Christmas cannot be on the federal holiday schedule. However, government agencies and schools can still close as they do during that day and surrounding days if a significant portion of the workforce requests time off. That’s a practical matter. Taking Christmas off the federal holiday schedule doesn’t mean Christians can’t observe it. Christians just need to ask for that time off, like anyone else, instead of imposing their religious holiday on everyone else. One might think a possible alternative would be that representatives of every religion (and atheists) are allowed to nominate one holiday of their own to be on the federal holiday schedule, in order to make it fair. However, this approach has multiple disadvantages. First, the federal holiday schedule might become crowded with that approach, and atheists would have to agree on what day would be theirs and why. Second, one can imagine a situation where one religion’s nominated day might be offensive to members of another religion. Third, imposing multiple religions on everyone is even farther away from right to religion than imposing just one religion on everyone. The best course to uphold the right to religion is to not impose any religion on anyone.

    The right to religion and non-religion does not mean that a student in school has a right to not learn about religions. A school teach may about religions but may not attempt to influence students to convert to a specific religion. The right to religion means that public schools that provide counseling must not discriminate or attempt to convert students to a religion in counseling. If students wish to use religious counselors, they can seek them outside of school.

    The right to religion and non-religion means that government and private employers cannot make religious holidays into mandatory time off. A government agency or employer can require employees to request time off in advance and might notice that a significant number of employees requested to have time off on the same day. That employer can either deny the time off for some employees to ensure it can continue operating on that day, or grant the time off and try to have reduced operations on that day with employees who did not request time off, or if that won’t work furlough the other employees on that day so they get an unpaid day off unless they use their time off to get paid for that day.

    The right to religion does not mean that a person, claiming religious beliefs, is allowed to do things that are illegal. For example, if a person’s religious belief is that they should throw stones at other people who do certain sexual acts, they cannot legally practice that religious belief because throwing stones at people is a violent crime.

    The government may enact various laws in accordance with the will of the people. However, if the government enacts any law that specifically prohibits a religious practice for which there is no victim, a person may defend their right to religion or non-religion by suing the government to cancel that law. For example, if the government enacts a law that prohibits people from wearing a cross or a hat that would be unconstitutional because wearing a cross or a hat doesn’t hurt anyone and, if the cross or the hat are religious symbols. Conversely, and continuing the same example, the right to religion also prohibits the government from enacting laws that require people to wear a cross or a hat.

    The right to religion and non-religion does not mean that the government or any private organization must accommodate people or make exceptions to their policies due to a person’s religious beliefs. For example, if the military has a regulation that hair must be cut a certain way and that regulation is not based on a religion, a person who has a religious belief that they must let their hair grow out or cut it in some other way that does not meet the military’s regulation would not get an exception to that regulation. To be in the military, a person has to do things the way they are done in the military. The military, for its part, must not institute any religious practices. When military service is voluntary, a person whose religious beliefs prevent the person from getting a haircut or harming other people should not join the military. However, during a time of crisis when military service is mandatory, a person’s religious belief would not be a justifiable reason to avoid military service or to not comply with all military regulations.

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