Regarding the April 1 news article “Moore: Go slow on religion bill”: N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore is taking a hard look at the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Here is my advice: Religious freedom can and should be guaranteed to individual citizens. But it cannot be granted to organizations ... or governments. That is because religion is a personal matter.
In the United States, I can believe or not believe whatever I wish about religious matters. I don’t have to agree with my neighbor, but I do have to acknowledge that she/he has the same right. Furthermore, no organization or government can force me to change my beliefs so long as I respect the rights of others.
Organizations and governments do not have religious freedom, because religion does not apply to them. Even a church does not have religion. Its members can be “saved,” but I have never heard anything in church about the church going to heaven. Nor have I ever heard of a state being saved. That is because religion, and therefore religious freedom, applies only to individuals.
If we break this rule and write laws giving organizations the right to control religious behavior then we provide legitimacy to states such as ISIL to require its citizens to change their religious beliefs. Is that what we want?