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Freedom of religion or freedom of worship?

Demon of Light

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The change in language was barely noticeable to the average citizen but political observers are raising red flags at the use of a new term "freedom of worship" by President Obama and Secretary Clinton as a replacement for the term freedom of religion. This shift happened between the President's speech in Cairo where he showcased America's freedom of religion and his appearance in November at a memorial for the victims of Fort Hood, where he specifically used the term "freedom of worship." From that point on, it has become the term of choice for the president and Clinton.

In her article for "First Things" magazine, Ashley Samelson, International Programs Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, stated, "To anyone who closely follows prominent discussion of religious freedom in the diplomatic and political arena, this linguistic shift is troubling: "The reason is simple. Any person of faith knows that religious exercise is about a lot more than freedom of worship. It's about the right to dress according to one's religious dictates, to preach openly, to evangelize, to engage in the public square. Everyone knows that religious Jews keep kosher, religious Quakers don't go to war, and religious Muslim women wear headscarves-yet "freedom of worship" would protect none of these acts of faith."
Source: Catholic Online
 

Hoplite

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I'm not seeing a real point to this.
 

Ikari

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I'm not seeing a real point to this.
It's a change in rhetoric is all. Freedom of religion has built into it freedom of worship, it's part of religion. But so are other religious type things such as expression which is also covered in freedom of religion. Freedom of worship is a subset of the greater freedom of religion. Though I do not think there is anything Obama can really do about it, even if he uses Freedom of worship over Freedom of religion.
 

MaggieD

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@ Demon of Light -- The way we parse language is incredible. And the credence we give those who go over the top is amazing. She must have been "thought-short" for her article, as I think that author was crazy. The right to worship includes everything she lists.
 

Hoplite

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It's a change in rhetoric is all. Freedom of religion has built into it freedom of worship, it's part of religion. But so are other religious type things such as expression which is also covered in freedom of religion. Freedom of worship is a subset of the greater freedom of religion. Though I do not think there is anything Obama can really do about it, even if he uses Freedom of worship over Freedom of religion.
Who ****ing cares? It sounds like one of the more pointless gripes I've seen today.
 

Demon of Light

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@ Demon of Light -- The way we parse language is incredible. And the credence we give those who go over the top is amazing. She must have been "thought-short" for her article, as I think that author was crazy. The right to worship includes everything she lists.
Actually it would not include anything she listed. Wearing headscarves, avoiding war, and eating kosher, is not a part of worship, but broader religious practice.

Who ****ing cares? It sounds like one of the more pointless gripes I've seen today.
That is exactly how you are supposed to see it. Wordsmiths and ad agencies know full well the impact of a subtle change in language. The subtlety of it is exactly what makes it so effective. Most average people will not even notice the change or recognize its significance and most intelligent individuals are not impacted by the change and thus believe it will have no impact.

However, a subtle change in language can completely reframe the discussion.
 

Hoplite

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That is exactly how you are supposed to see it. Wordsmiths and ad agencies know full well the impact of a subtle change in language. The subtlety of it is exactly what makes it so effective. Most average people will not even notice the change or recognize its significance and most intelligent individuals are not impacted by the change and thus believe it will have no impact.

However, a subtle change in language can completely reframe the discussion.
Ok, how does this "re-frame the discussion"?
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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@ Demon of Light -- The way we parse language is incredible. And the credence we give those who go over the top is amazing. She must have been "thought-short" for her article, as I think that author was crazy. The right to worship includes everything she lists.
Religion -
1) Believe in divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshipped as the creators and masters of the universe.
2) expression of this belief in conduct and ritual
3) any specific system of belief, worship, conduct, etc.

Worship -
1) The state or quality of being worthy
2) A prayer, church service, or other rite showing reverence or devotion for a deity


Freedom of religion is the freedom to dream.

Freedom of worship is easily expressed by this old song:

"Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream?
It's alright we told you what to dream. "
Welcome to the Machine, Pink Floyd.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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Let's put it this way.

Anytime someone tries to copy an idea from the US Constitution, and they don't use the same words, they get it wrong...if their intent was to improve things.

Since "Freedom of Worship" was a Bolshevic scam, you can be assured that the failure to assure freedom of religion was deliberate. The Soviets had the freedom to worship the party. Organized religion was outlawed.
 

sameerkale

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Maybe he started using "worship" instead of "religion" because "religion" has become a politically charged word these days. Religions are many and different, but the one thing they all have in common is worship.

Yall are reading way too much into this.
 

Fish Whale

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Good thing the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written in English, so nothing is lost in translation.
What the president says is bullcrap compared to what the Constitution says.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
 

Dittohead not!

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Does freedom of religion involve the liberty of ascribing to the POTUS a religion he doesn't actually profess? Some people seem to think so, anyway.

This is much ado about nothing, BTW.
 

dclx88

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I agree with the OP. While the change is subtle, the effect could be drastic. Freedom from a state religion, and the freedom to exercise whatever religion, are far more broad than freedom to worship. By changing the label of the right, the prism through which we view the right is changed. If we start calling freedom of religion the freedom to worship, we start considering differently the substantive right which is preserved.

It would be like calling freedom of speech, freedom to talk.
 

Korimyr the Rat

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It is a subtle change with far-reaching consequences, but it is also a necessary distinction. There is no "freedom of religion" in US law, only a Constitutional prohibition on the establishment of a State religion and on discrimination under the law based on religion.

Jews do not have a Constitutional right to keep kosher. Muslims do not have a Constitutional right to wear veils and headscarves. Quakers do not have a Constitutional right to draft exemption. We allow those freedoms because we respect the individuals' freedom of conscience, but in the unlikely event that national security or the general welfare requires their suspension, that suspension is legitimately Constitutional. No religion can be allowed to harm society under the protection of "freedom of religion" alone. They must appeal to other Constitutional rights.
 

rocket88

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Jews do not have a Constitutional right to keep kosher. Muslims do not have a Constitutional right to wear veils and headscarves. Quakers do not have a Constitutional right to draft exemption. .
I seem to remember a lawsuit about whether or not Christians had a right to wear a cross. This is all I could find about the decision:

See also Draper v. Logan County Public Library, No. 1:02CV-13-R (W.D. Ky. Aug. 29, 2003) (public library could not prohibit employee from wearing a necklace with a cross; such unobtrusive displays of religious adherence could not be interpreted by a reasonable observer as government endorsement of religion)

EEOC Informal Discussion Letter
It would be a hard sell to say that Christians can wear a cross, but you can ban Muslim headscarves.
 

Dittohead not!

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I seem to remember a lawsuit about whether or not Christians had a right to wear a cross. This is all I could find about the decision:



It would be a hard sell to say that Christians can wear a cross, but you can ban Muslim headscarves.
It's a matter of where you draw the line, and what constitutes a societal harm. It would be difficult to maintain that a crucifix is harming anyone. There was a case involving a Sikh high school student and his sword, which was not really a sword at all but an icon similar to that crucifix, being a "weapon". The student won that one, too. If we're going to ban a Muslim head scarf, then we'd have to ban any scarf, and somehow show that it is harming society. On the other hand, if the Muslim community were to want to stone adulterers or some such thing, that could easily be seen as a societal harm.
 

Goshin

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I seem to remember a lawsuit about whether or not Christians had a right to wear a cross. This is all I could find about the decision:



It would be a hard sell to say that Christians can wear a cross, but you can ban Muslim headscarves.
Actually the two issues are different in a substantial way: the cross does not make it difficult to determine someone's identity; the full-face covering required by some Muslims does. In some cases the latter could be construed as a threat to public safety, depending on the circumstances. Many jurisdictions prohibit adults from wearing masks or other headgear that cover the face.
 
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Demon of Light

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It is a subtle change with far-reaching consequences, but it is also a necessary distinction. There is no "freedom of religion" in US law, only a Constitutional prohibition on the establishment of a State religion and on discrimination under the law based on religion.

Jews do not have a Constitutional right to keep kosher. Muslims do not have a Constitutional right to wear veils and headscarves. Quakers do not have a Constitutional right to draft exemption. We allow those freedoms because we respect the individuals' freedom of conscience, but in the unlikely event that national security or the general welfare requires their suspension, that suspension is legitimately Constitutional. No religion can be allowed to harm society under the protection of "freedom of religion" alone. They must appeal to other Constitutional rights.
The First Amendment says you cannot abridge the "free exercise" of religion and together with "freedom of speech" that includes nonverbal speech the things you are talking about would in fact be protected under U.S. law. A Jewish person does not have a right to get kosher food from the private place of their choosing, just like a Muslim does not have to get halal food from the same. Now one could argue they do not have a constitutional right to wear yamulkas and headscarves wherever they please like in a place of business they do not own or run, but certainly they have a right to wear them in public spaces or in the privacy of their homes. Laws like in France would never fly under constitutional law.
 

xpiher

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Worship includes all practices in the Muslim world.
 
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