State-Mandated Religious Liberty Is No Replacement For Universal Liberty

When Indiana passed their “religious freedom” law, they wanted everyone (including libertarians) to believe that their mandate was a step forward for universal liberty. In truth, it is nothing more than a transparent attempt to turn America into 4th century Rome.

Indiana’s lawmakers have no intention of making this “freedom” about just any religion, because in their minds there is only one, true religion: Christianity. So if you’re a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Jew, and you expect to have the “right” to discriminate against others based upon your own religion’s prejudices, you’re sadly mistaken.

Also, if your beliefs (like mine) are generally spiritual rather than associated with Christianity, you also have no real “rights” under this new law.

And if you’re an atheist or an agnostic, you’re ___-out-of-luck. Get thee to a nunnery or a monastery if you want to have any chance to share in Indiana’s religiously-driven bounty.

Many right-wing Christians (like Mark Vogl, who writes here on the Nolan Chart) want you to believe that America can only be great if it rededicates itself as a Christian nation in the mold of the founding fathers, who (in their mixed up minds) intended America to be a Christian nation. This, of course, is insane given that founding fathers George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Ethan Allen, and many others were not Christian at all. Most of them were Deists, and the rest, while they often participated in Christian communities because their local populations were dominated by one church or another, they themselves never accepted Christianity as their own religion. Further, even among Christian founders, there was great disagreement about the application of scriptures. Anglicans and Quakers, for example, rarely agreed on anything religiously based.

To be sure, some founding fathers were Christian, but to characterize “the founding fathers” as Christians advocating the creation of a Christian nation is clearly a lie.

If you want to know what America as a “Christian nation” would look like, just think about the Indiana law. Under the law, Christians will be allowed to discriminate against anyone they wish, as long as they can point to a bible verse that supports their desire to discriminate. But non-Christians will have no such “right”.

This is not a description of human rights. It is a description of human depravity based upon a state-mandated caste system.

Imagine what’s possible for right-wing Christians under the new law. Consider the following:

  • If you want to discriminate based upon slave status, you can do so in a Christian state.
  • If you want to discriminate based upon whether someone teaches the theory of Evolution, you can do so in a Christian state.
  • If you want to discriminate based upon gender preference, you can do so in a Christian state.
  • If you want to discriminate against people who desire peace when the religious right wants the country to go to war, you can do so in a Christian state.
  • If you want to discriminate against a non-Christian, you can do so in a Christian state.
  • If you want to discriminate against a fellow Christian, you can do so by leaning on any arcane biblical verse that you decide can apply.
  • If you want to plunder a non-Christian, you can do so in a Christian state. You just have to be a little creative to make sure that you do so under the guise of some bible verse.

Right-wing Christians don’t want everyone to have these “rights”. They only want Christians to have these rights, and even then they really only want right-wing Christians to be “more equal than others”. They certainly don’t want Christians who favor the pro choice side of the abortion argument to have these rights, for example. Instead, they want to have the right to discriminate against such Christians without retribution or consequences to themselves.

If you really want a society that advocates freedom, you make the freedom not based upon any particular religion. See Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom for some good ideas on the subject.

Walt Thiessen

Walt Thiessen

As founder of, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the website! My purpose with my column is the same as my purpose for the overall website. Libertarian ideas have been generally excluded from the public debate and ridiculed on those rare occasions when they have been included. This must change.

Rather than trying to force others to change their ways, I created this website to create an environment where all political views, including libertarian, could be expressed in a free yet respectful manner.
Walt Thiessen

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  1. Kevin C Caffrey says

    Make all Americans bow to the lord god secularism and zero morality or tolerance for people who happen to live by moral and ethical principles. If you want a country that has no morality or God then look what happened when they tried that in France with the Declaration of Human Rights. In the end all they did was kill each other and make the way for a totalitarian state under Napoleon Bonaparte. Your idea of history is the make belief reality built upon by revisionists historians made up of atheists, agnostics, whores, baby killers, communists, socialists, and LGBT writers.

    America is supposed to be a free enterprise system where business succeeds or fails due to the market. The “Right of Conscious” argument is the bases of personal liberty. To force people to do things that they find morally reprehensible is the new dictatorship of the left. The same left that gave us Stalin and the millions of deaths that he caused or Mao of China who killed even more. The Libertarians now want to raise their ugly head towards the most descend ethical, moral and charitable people of this nation the Christians. Christians in America pay a majority of the taxes in America that feed, cloth, house and pay for the medical care for the lefts constituency. Give Christians a break stop polluting our children with the idea of tolerance for degenerates and sexual misfits.

    • james luko says

      Kevin, who is “forcing” anyone about religion? Without religion there is no morality? so before the bible people had no morals? I think morality comes from “survival” as man learned that to stay protected and fed- he needed to stay in his tribe or clan- and doing things like stealing, killing, raping- got him kicked out- therefore, man learned quickly- that doing good things- moral things- keeps him alive- otherwise- man would have not survived the 198,000 years before the bible was written. The U.S. Constitution is the only world document that specifically separates church from state and gives the people “enlightenment” ideas- that is hardly a country being founded with its core being “religion” or Christianity. Even for example- if abortion is legal- you may find it “morally reprehensible” but that does not FORCE you and yours to engage in abortions does it? It only means that if OTHERS chose to- they may do so safely and legally- as illegal abortion does not STOP abortions- it just creates unsafe medical conditions for people to conduct them with unqualified personnel and in the back alleys. America cannot “legislate” morality. Fear not Kevin, most people, no matter their disposition on religion- are good people. Most Americans are good and not…. whores, baby killers, communists and socialists. The gay population is only about 2% so what fear do you have of them? Live in peace kevin, if others will go to hell for their immorality what business is that of yours?

      • Kevin C Caffrey says

        I love my Country and history tells us that all civilizations have ceased to exist because the moral fiber of that society dissipates. Once any civilization perverts itself and begins to think men are gods the society collapses. In regards to 198,000 years of mans existence well there are not any scientific proof. If you look at the shelves or earths layers to its core throughout history there is not any continuity in fact it is random. Take into account that 20,000 years ago North America was in the Ice Age how do American Indians become human beings based on evolution and twenty thousand years. In fact, there is not any proof of the evolutionary process at all. Random changes in nature are frequent and I challenge science to come up with proof for the evolution of man. Man did not evolve from ooze. God consciousness is the bases of morality and ethics and when idealists act moral and ethical it is a learned behavior taught to them through history by God fearing people.

  2. Michael Paganello says

    I do not believe the issue is what the religious leanings of the founders were, but the fact that they established this nation on judeo Christian values. I have never read anywhere that they were trying to establish a nation where everyone is a practicing Christian.

    • Walt Thiessen says

      I don’t think the founders had Judeo-Christian values in mind. Rather, they had the values of the Enlightenment in mind. It’s pretty clear that the leading founders were not trying to push a religiously-oriented value system.

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