It is astounding how many times I hear something like, “It’s freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion!” I can no longer stomach this egregious divorce from logic and reasoning. Because the people in need of a mental “antibiotic” against this particular strain of flimsy rhetoric need to be able to understand it, I shall dumb it down:
Freedom means you have the option – the choice – to do something or not do it.
Without a choice, there is NO FREEDOM. If you take away the choice, it becomes mandatory. Are you with me so far?
This means that the freedom to practice any religion ALSO MEANS the choice to NOT practice any religion.
So far: choice = freedom. No choice = not freedom.
So how does freedom OF religion also mean freedom FROM religion?
It means you can’t impose your religion onto others. You have to give them the choice. It means when you impose anything religious onto others, you are taking away their choice, which means it is no longer a freedom, but a mandate.
Imposing your beliefs onto others seems all well and good until someone tries to return the favor. Notice how the same people who are so afraid of Sharia Law in America or Britain have no problem imposing Christian regulations onto people who want no part of it.
Did you keep up? Freedom OF religion allows us to follow the religion of our choosing. Freedom FROM religion safeguards us from rule of law by religions that are not of our choosing. Both are important in that they are designed to prevent any religion from being imposed by force upon the masses, as was the most common method throughout history.
If this doesn’t make sense, simply exchange freedom of religion for any other freedom. Imagine having the freedom to own a firearm. That means you have the choice to own one, but you also have a choice to not own one.
So, once again, in closing: freedom OF religion means freedom FROM religion. Otherwise it isn’t freedom anymore.