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Why Religious Liberty Matters

By Jared Butler

“Is religious liberty a universal human right? Discuss the meaning of this term as it is understood in a culture, country, or intellectual tradition different from your own.”

I believe that everyone should have a right to religious liberty.  It is a human right. Religious liberty is the freedom to practice religion. The reason why we have the right to have religious beliefs is because of the first amendment. Religious liberty was made the official part of the US foreign policy by the International Religious Freedom Act, which was created in 1998. The International Religious Freedom Act promotes stability in a relatable society. Religious liberty is a human right because it contributes positive quality to a human life and this is not just a benefit to the individual but to society as a whole.  

Religious liberty is first of all human rights, for it requires the dignity and holiness of human conscience. It also includes the right to worship, observation, practice, expression, and teaching. If we didn’t have religious liberty we wouldn’t have the right to worship or practice religion. Practicing religion benefits us because it’s the solution to connect with God and gives us a feeling of hope.

Religious liberty is also important for societies to give humans an opportunity to relate to each other. Learning the importance of religion will lead to meaningful positive lives. For example on a personal level, my family and I socialize with people at church; we socialize by having conversations and participating in events such as attending church fairs with the Pathfinder Club, picnic at the park. The other activities that they organize for social interactions between church members include the beach, picnics, and potluck. The church social events gives people the opportunity to relate to each other.  Overtime, casual social interactions can lead to meaningful interpersonal relationships that improve the quality of people’s lives.

Religious freedom encourages respect, decreases corruption, inspires peace, and gains trust to the people around us. If we didn’t have the freedom of religion we would only live as political or economic individuals. Also without it we would start losing our civil liberties as well because religious liberty is considered important to civil liberties. We need religious freedom because it leads us to wisdom and the result of laws that lead us to liberty. To make religious freedom an official right and prevent it from being taken.  James Madison implied that George Mason should rewrite The Virginia Declaration of Rights that says, all men are entitled to the full and free exercise of religion. He also helped write the first amendment.  The opening statement he wrote was Congress shall make no law respecting a creation of religion or forbidding the right to exercise religion.

Give people the opportunity to worship that they believe in, and in the way they want to.  Since religious freedom applies to institutions, it gives people the freedom to exercise their beliefs. Religious institutions put people together with God.  A relationship with God gives people hope. Hope inspires people to have a positive outlook on life and they contribute in a positive manner to their families and communities.

Religious liberty impacts our ability to flourish and we are able to build a strong vibrant environment. It also impacts the freedom we have to live out our belief at work, religious freedom also created the space for making positive contributions in our society. Since religious freedom impacts the income level on each person there will be less poverty and more success in our lives.  

Religious liberty gives us an opportunity for good health. As a Seventh Day Adventist, the way we eat is influenced by our religious beliefs. One of the foundations of the Seventh Day Adventist church is the health message. The health message of the Seventh Day Adventist church encourages a balanced and healthy eating lifestyle that makes us healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.  Also, we keep the Sabbath holy. This gives us an opportunity to give our body rest from all of our activities during the week that make us tired and weary. We get to take one day out of the week to relax and reset to put us in the frame of mind for all of our work in the up coming week. This form of religion also gives humans an opportunity to maintain good health and good quality of life.

To conclude, take away a person’s religious freedom, you also take away a human’s right to life, liberty and their pursuit of happiness, which under the Constitution of the United State, every one has a right to. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right.  

Jared Butler is in 10th grade at Oakton High School in Vienna, Virginia. His goals are to be a veterinarian and to be certified as a lifeguard. He was born in Huntsville, AL and moved to Virginia in 2011 where he attends Solid Rock Seventh-day Adventist church. He enjoys video games, math, science, history, and swimming. He is active in his local Pathfinder Club. 

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