Do Rules Apply for Religion?

Higher Rules?
Higher Rules?

This seems to be appearing more in the news.  People of Faith claiming they don’t need to follow the rules, any rules, since they follow “higher laws.”

In schools, courtrooms, public squares, sporting events. . .

Is this trivial?

NFL Muslim Player penalized for praying after touchdown

Double standard!  Religious Freedom!  People get SO upset.

The NFL takes back the penalty.

But hear what The Player himself said afterward (I give him lots of credit for admitting this):

“Abdullah, who left football for a year to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, told the Kansas City Star afterward that he thought the referees flagged him over unsportsmanlike conduct for the slide, not prostrating. It was a sentiment echoed by his coach, Andy Reid.”

League rules say:

ESPN noted that according to Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d), “Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.”

But the NFL quickly changed the decision.  Why?

Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.

So there you go.

In a small way, isn’t this another example of Religion claiming Special Treatment?  Isn’t this like the “outrage” we often hear from many in faith groups who say Their Religious Freedom is More Important than Anyone Else’s Religious Freedom or anyone else’s rules or laws or common sense?

The Rules, any rules, really don’t apply to them.

Their Rules come directly from God.

Who are WE to question or make them obey puny Human Rules!

The rest of us need to accommodate, get out of the way, give them Their Freedom.  Our freedoms (to not be subjected to their faith) don’t count.

What do you think?

(btw:  I often wonder if people Really Believe their God cares about sports or helps them Get Touchdowns!)

6 thoughts on “Do Rules Apply for Religion?

  1. re: ” Isn’t this like the “outrage” we often hear from many in faith groups who say Their Religious Freedom is More Important than Anyone Else’s Religious Freedom or anyone else’s rules or laws or common sense?”

    I’m just a bit curious about some of the references used in this sentence. Seems like a lot of broad accusations brought against an equally broad and non-specific group or groups of people. If not, then what specific outrages, faith groups, laws and definitions of common sense are you referring to?

  2. I hear you, Doyle. I suppose I read so many of these stories in the news, in books and on websites like Americans United and Friendly Atheist, that it seems pervasive. Every time another group pushes for prayer or bible reading in public schools or their faith symbol on public property, without thought for those who don’t share their beliefs, I hear “I’m an exception; my freedom is foremost.” Don’t you observe this? If you do, what would be your response?

  3. I suppose I’m no different than you in that regard. We tend to lean toward the opinions of those of like mind as that is where we naturally spend most of our time. The Christian will tend to follow more faith based sources than atheistic ones, and likewise the converse. We also both have “a priori” beliefs that generally govern our perspective and interpretation of the material we digest. You might hear “my freedom of religion exempts me from being silent about my beliefs” whereas I might hear “my freedom of speech allows me to be vocal about my beliefs”. Then, there is the authors interpretation of the issue or event. Reality is probably in there somewhere, right? And that is what makes conversation interesting and worthwhile, I think.

  4. I’m following you about leaning toward opinions of like-minded folk. And, some of us read the opinions of many sources, even those we disagree with. As for Christians following “faith based” sources, doesn’t it seem that many if not most go straight to Christian-based sources? That’s the rub in a pluralistic society. If certain people only learn from their own inner circle (and certainly this applies to nonbelievers too), where is the balance or reality there? My original post is exposing the obvious: believers asking for, even demanding, special treatment. That simply doesn’t work in a secular society where true “freedom of beliefs” is protected for all, not a chosen few. When one implies that their freedom of speech deserves special privileges (e.g. a cross, creche or commandment display on public property), they ought to expect firm push back from those of us who defend both freedom of religion (all beliefs and no beliefs) and the separation of religion and state.

    1. You state that your original post “exposes the obvious: believers asking for, even demanding, special treatment.” I respectfully disagree. I don’t think that believers (theists, is it?) are any more or less demanding of special treatment or their constitutional rights than non-believers.

      One of the beauties of the United States of America is that we are a pluralistic society. In my opinion that pluralism only becomes a “rub” when we fail to give respect to those who believe differently that we do. We are each individually challenged (to a certain degree) with not pre-judging the other side, whoever that might be.

      I think that many are prone to see the outside of the bell curve, the outliers, the extreme opinions. Extremes sell, and the media focuses on that. Collectively as a nation, our focus is often drawn to that distortion of reality and we can be swayed by it. None of us want to be duped, and few of us believe that we ever can be.

      I believe the reality is that most of our pluralistic constituents reside in the middle of the bell curve. I believe that we are far more common than we are often depicted. I don’t want to make blanket assumptions about the other side of the opinion any more that I want that done against my side, but I still fall prey to that at times. Forgive me if I have strayed into that realm when responding in your blog.

      Knowledge, discernment and respect should always be practiced by both sides of any differing of opinions. Otherwise, both sides lose something in the struggle to make sense of this world and in striving for peace in the process.

  5. I agree with you that there is beauty in our pluralism. Which of course is one point of this post. I guess I could re-state it this way: On the day I see, hear, read about a Christian group supporting the “religious freedom” of a Muslim, Buddhist or Atheist to bring materials into a public school, say their prayers or preach in classes or at school events, placing their monuments on public property or seeking to legislate their faith principles for all the rest of us to follow. . .then, perhaps, I will believe that these Christians truly believe in American-style, pluralistic, freedom of religion. Of course, as a Secular person, I would still have to encourage the next step in actual pluralism: a clear separation of faith from this government of a secular, pluralistic nation. Then, as you say, knowledge and respect can be practiced freely in the cause of peace.

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