The April 23 column by Don Roberts, “In Defense of Christianity,” is supposed to be a defense of Christianity, but all I saw was a plea to allow Christians to be exempt from laws they don’t like — special rights for Christians, if you will.

It never fails that when Christians demand special rights and privileges, they invoke the Founding Fathers, but they don’t actually look to them. We must look no further than the very first Religious Freedom Act in the United States, the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, to see what our Founding Fathers believed the law should be regarding religious freedom.

Thomas Jefferson was unable to pass it as it was originally introduced in 1779; however, James Madison succeeded in passing a modified version in 1784. The politically savvy Madison used growing opposition of a proposed tax to be used to support all Christian sects to get the bill to pass both houses in Virginia and be signed into law.

While I concede that they invoke a deity, they declared that our civil rights should be no more dependent on our religious views than our views on physics or geometry and that these are natural rights. Religious freedom is the idea that “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of Religion,” 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, not the idea that the government allows believers to be exempt from laws they disagree with.

The demise of our country isn’t going to come because a Christian business owner had to bake a cake.

It isn’t religious freedom to grant special rights to those with “sincerely held religious beliefs.” It just isn’t.

Anna Woodside, spokeswoman

Maine Atheists and Humanists


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