Religious freedom: the freedom to follow the religion of one’s choice and to worship without interference. Religious freedom can also mean to be free of any forced religious belief or practice, as in the civil practice of religious freedom in the USA and some other countries. More recently, laws passed claiming religious freedom assert a right to live according to one’s religious values as a worker or business owner, in all aspects of life, including to discriminate against those who have different values, and where one has the economic and cultural power, to have others live by those values even if they are not their own. Here are some quotes about the tradition and values of religious freedom.

The United States government must not undertake to run the Churches. When an individual, in the Church or out of it, becomes dangerous to the public interest he must be checked.

— Abraham Lincoln

That I am not a member of any Christian Church, is true; but I have never denied the truth of the Scriptures; and I have never spoken with intentional disrespect of religion in general, or of any denomination of Christians in particular.

— Abraham Lincoln

The best thing about the battered but not totally defeated American tradition of separation of church and state is that we can and should avoid mixing up God and country.

— Ed Kilgore

No religion can long continue to maintain its purity when the church becomes the subservient vassal of the state.

— Felix Adler

The separation of church and state protects people of all faiths and no faith. No religion should be able to exercise control over a government and thereby dictate its theology onto any diverse group of free people.

— Laurence Overmire

Whether it’s racism, homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, xenophobia, religious intolerance or other bias – we demand to live in a country where we can be safe to be who we are, believe what we want and love whomever we want.

— Lucy McBath

America’s freedom of religion, and freedom from religion, offers every wisdom tradition an opportunity to address our soul-deep needs: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, secular humanism, agnosticism and atheism among others.

— Parker Palmer

God enters by a private door into every individual.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.

— Robert G. Ingersoll

Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?

— Sandra Day O’Connor

I tell them I have worked 40 years to make the W.S. platform broad enough for Atheists and Agnostics to stand upon, and now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the straightest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray and count her beads upon.

— Susan B. Anthony, on the Woman Suffrage platform

Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.

— Thomas Paine
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