The death of Nelson Mandela got me to thinking about freedom and individual rights and those who know me know I tend to have strong opinions on this and most often piss people off when I state my opinions on any matters that fall in this realm and I’m sure this won’t be an exception. Everyone has their own opinion on what Freedom means but for me Freedom in its basic sense is an individual’s right to choose, to believe, to speak, to do without restraint or prohibition to do so. Everyone should have these rights. Everyone should have this freedom. Freedom is not giving up the rights of one person or group of people for the rights of another or others.
Everyone should have the right to support or be against gay marriage. Everyone should have the right to say they are gay or bisexual or say they aren’t. That is a freedom that should be afforded everyone. Everyone should have the right to say they believe in God just as everyone should have the right to say they don’t believe in God. What people don’t have the right is to take away someone else’s rights or freedom because it differs from their own. Prayer in school is the perfect example. This was taken out of school because atheist said they were offended and felt they should not be forced to pray to a God they did not believe existed. Well, they are correct and they do have that right to not pray, however they did NOT have the right to petition the courts to have prayer taken out of school, taking away the rights of those who do believe in God and who did have the right to pray in school to start their day. The issue was easily solved just by taking a moment of silence to reflect on their week or their upcoming day. Nothing said they had to pray. Another would be if you believe in Gay rights and someone else doesn’t. Well you have that right to not believe in gay rights just as someone else has that right to believe in gay rights. What we don’t have the right to do is to flaunt your belief in gay rights or the fact you are gay in front of the person who doesn’t, on purpose, specifically to piss them off or to say they are wrong for believing the way they do.
What it boils down to is, we all have rights and the freedom to look at things differently but what we don’t have the right to do, is push that on to someone else or take away their rights because they don’t think, act, or believe the same way we do.