One of the things that I have fought against most of my career is the use of religion to limit others’ freedom. I’ve said many many times that radicalized Islam poses a great threat to everyone’s freedom, especially the freedom of gay people. I’ve also spoken out when Christians in Africa enact laws that make homosexuality punishable by life in prison or even death.
Of course it’s not only sexual orientation that is often times the reason for limitation on freedom because of religion. Sometimes it’s gender or even race that is cited as the reason people used religion to limit personal freedom.
I wrote earlier this year about my feelings about organized religion. Read that post here. The doctrine and orthodoxy of religion is something I reject, precisely because it’s used to limit freedom far too often.
Today, I want everyone to watch the video below. It is of Christian pastor in Arizona, Steven Anderson, calling for the execution of all gay people. That’s right. Watch it.
One thing I hear often from Christian conservatives is a plea to the mainstream Muslim community to condemn radicals in the Islamic world, but I rarely hear Christians condemn people like Anderson. How is he different from a crazy Muslim cleric calling for jihad?
Remember, it only takes one devout follower to act on the call for violence. That’s why it’s important to call it out and condemn it when we see it. It’s especially important for other religious people to do that. I hope they will do that in this case.
The other thing that I hope religious people will do is to think about how they use their beliefs as justification for limiting other people’s freedom. It’s easy to say that you shouldn’t kill another person, but where do you draw the line?
I say that there shouldn’t be a line. I say that freedom means freedom, and keep your religion to yourself.
NOTE: You can hear Anderson’s entire sermon here.