“You can believe something, this doesn’t mean it should be respected.”
I’ve been re-reading the masterpiece that is The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. In the book it describes how a church in New Mexico was granted permission to take hallucinogenic
drugs which are otherwise banned in other areas simply because they believed it enhanced their ability to understand God.
As Dawkins put it:
Note that it is sufficient that they believe that the drug enhances their understanding. They do not have to produce evidence. Conversely, there is plenty of evidence that cannabis eases the nausea and discomfort of cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy. Yet the Supreme Court ruled, in 2005, that all patients who use cannabis for medicinal purposes are vulnerable to federal prosecution (even in the minority of states where such specialist use is legalized). Religion, as ever, is the rump card. Imagine members of an art appreciation society pleading in court that they ‘believe’ they need a hallucinogenic drug in order to enhance their understanding of Impressionist or Surrealist paintings.
The right to free speech should be taken very seriously. A persons right to believe in a particular deity or supernatural being should also be taken seriously. What I object to, is a particular person or group of people however big or small should being given special treatment as a direct result of their intangible beliefs. A belief after all is not physical.