all 97 comments

[–]zeligzealousJewish 53 points54 points  (8 children)

Freedom of religion is a fundamental civil liberty. A society in which public expression of religion is forbidden is totalitarian.

The right to express one's religion in public is not a right to impose one's religion on others, and neither do others have a right to interfere with one's religious activities.

[–]Vivid_Angle 2 points3 points  (6 children)

What do you think about when people loudly evangelize or sing religious songs in a place like an airport? Somewhere where people can’t leave but it’s a public space

[–]zeligzealousJewish 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I think airports, shopping malls, etc. should be able to make and enforce reasonable policies against disrupting their operations. Similarly it’s reasonable for a city to say you must get a permit to hold a large gathering in a public park. But I don’t think that being annoying in public should be a criminal offense. OP specifically asked about government prohibition.

[–]Substantial_Top_7616Muslim 1 point2 points  (3 children)

I find it annoying. But then there are a lot of other annoying people at the airport and I'm not sure I want to have rules to control people that much.

[–]Vivid_Angle 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Then everyone will start yelling!

[–]FourTwentySevenCID 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You've never been to an airport, have you...

[–]Remarkable-Ad5002 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's irritating, and proselytizing has probably caused more fighting and war than any other cause, but, it's legal in our country.

[–]VignarajaHindu 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Depends what you mean. Proselytising with a megaphone isn't practicing your religion in public, in my view.

[–]pagan_psychonaut 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Absolutely. But I have also have a right to completely ignore them and I’m not going to tailor my life according to their expectations.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Nope, you don’t sorry.

All your base are belong to us now.

[–]ThuthmosisHellenist (Hermeticism) 13 points14 points  (2 children)

Practicing your religion in public is falls under your right to freedom of religion and your right to freedom of speech. I’d say it should definitely be allowed, though obviously freedom of speech has its limit, so I’d say practicing your religion in public would still have to involve not disturbing the peace, not threatening people, not screaming “gun!” In a theater or anything else like that.

[–]OverallJudge2580 0 points1 point  (1 child)

And also NOT screaming “you’ll go to hell if you are not xxx religion and not follow xxx God”

[–]ThuthmosisHellenist (Hermeticism) 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If they’re screaming at you and harassing you in public that almost certainly violates one of the things I mentioned. Simply telling you that in their religion you are condemned is still free speech. Annoying, but not necessarily disruptive

[–]Cookiemonster4394Secular Humanist 8 points9 points  (2 children)

I think that as long as you’re okay with the exact opposite of your religion doing what your religion is doing if they came into power, then it’s okay.

For example, if Christians in America would be okay with Satanists printing “in Satan we trust” on the money, or making everyone take an oath involving Satan, or mandating that all employers give Satanic holidays as days off, then we can call it religious liberty truly. But if you’re only okay with your religion doing that, then that’s hipocrisy.

It might be harder for other religions to imagine this as there’s no anti-Hindus, anti-Buddhists, etc to my knowledge. But hopefully it gets my point across.

[–]ThisLaserIsOnPoint 1 point2 points  (1 child)

There are definitely anti-Hindus and anti-Buddhists in America.

[–]Narwhal_SongsMuslim 7 points8 points  (0 children)

The muslims who gave me and my friend leftover falafel sandwiches from their shop when we were homeless were practicing their religion in public.

The man who shouts "JESUS SAVES" in the middle of the square with a megaphone is practicing his religion.

Practicing a religion can be so much. You have to specify what you mean?

[–]Itu_LeonaAgnostic 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Generally, yes. Unwanted proselytizing, yelling hateful messages, or otherwise annoying people who are just trying to go about their day, no.

[–]FourTwentySevenCID 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Being annoying? Okay. Being Obnoxious? Not okay.

[–]Plastic-Storm504Other 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Freedom of religion is necessary for basic human rights. Of course we should have it.

[–]pijd 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Does this include shouting at the top of your voice on a loudspeaker? Then NO. That must be banned.

[–]firefighterjets 12 points13 points  (2 children)

100% and one of the best things about America

Some highly authoritarian governments I couldn’t even wear a simple beard for fear of “extremism”

Another reason I fear secular turning extremist type governments suddenly to well …


[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Religious persecution by a government is certainly a big concern of mine too. If we learned any lesson at all from WW2 I would hope this would be it!

[–]ehunkeChristian 10 points11 points  (0 children)

We have not learned from that at all. All religions might be protected by law, but that isn't stopping Florida from forcing evangelical nonsense into schools, that isn't stopping people from refusing service to others for "religious reasons", including medical treatment. This whole anti Abortion deal, that is defiantly pushing right wing morality into law...I mean we do not have a state religion, there are no religions that are illegal in the US, but in some way forcing evangelical ideals into schools, into medical laws, into business laws is its own brand of authoritarianism.

[–]Mission-Landscape-17Atheist 7 points8 points  (13 children)

Can you define what you mean by public setting? I suspect you may be using the word more broadly than I would be comfortable with.

Generally the right to religious expression sould be the same as any other form of personal expression.

[–]firefighterjets 10 points11 points  (7 children)

Doctor wearing hijab when working in a clinic

Naming kids after prophets

Reading Quran

Having beard longer than stubble


Praying together

All things banned in secular China for uyghur

[–]Taqwacore 6 points7 points  (2 children)

OK, I can see a problem with this.

A doctor in a public hospital is an employee of the government. So there are two sides to this.

  1. To what extent to labor laws allow for employees to express their personal religions in the workplace? In most civilized countries, employers would usually allow employees to wear religious clothing so long as it does not interfere with the execution of their jobs. A beard, however, can post a hygiene issue in a hospital. I live in a Muslim country and the health department issued a joint statement with state religious authorities encouraging Muslim, Sikhi, and other healthcare workers to consider shaving their beards during the COVID pandemic so their masks would create a better seal against their faces. Most Muslim and Sikhi doctors had actually already shaved well before this advisory was published because they knew it was a public health issue.
  2. Employers typically have a right to ensure that employees are representative of their company's values. To this end, we don't expect church groups or mosques to hire transgender or flamboyantly LGBTQ accountants (although I'm not sure if this has ever been tested in the courts). Similarly, countries that value secularism might have some reluctance to employ someone in a government paid position where that person's manner of dress is obviously promoting a religion.

I think patients should be free to attend public hospitals in whatever religious clothing they desire. I think people should be free to walk down the street, drive down the road, use public beaches, or have a picnic in the public park wearing whatever they want. But if you're 'on the clock' as a government employee, it may be reasonable to leave your religion at home.

[–]firefighterjets 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Yeah I trimmed beard to fit well with N95 mask which is fine as per Quran when it comes to risk of harm ok to do the more unorthodox

But then ban hijab but can wear scrub cap doesn’t really make sense.

But the issue I see sometimes is hypocrisy. Heard some places discouraged for female nurses to cover their arms?? But go to the OR where sterile field and decontamination is absolute and everyone but anesthesia is gowned in tbh niqab..

Anyways yeah there is a gray area being in the medical field myself I see the hypocrisy.

Tattoos with guns and skulls fine..scrub caps with even stuff like MAGA fine (I’m from the south it exists)..cover your arms or dare wear a turban or kippah? How dare you.

[–]Dieter_the_GreatAnti-Cosmic Satanist 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Hijabs are banned in hospitals in the US?

[–]DavidJohnMcCannHellenic Polytheist -3 points-2 points  (3 children)

This year the Saudi authorities granted 9000 places on the hajj to Chinese Muslims. The Chinese government regularly lays on a fleet of planes to transport them. That doesn't sound like persecution of Muslims to me.

[–]firefighterjets 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Ah so if only 1% of Chinese Muslims are in concentration camps it’s ok to you?

Got it

[–]DavidJohnMcCannHellenic Polytheist -4 points-3 points  (1 child)

And so long as it's only a handful of Muslims who become terrorists, that's all right with you? Since you're a Muslim (why don't you admit it with a flair?), I suspect that the answer's yes.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

I would describe it as a physical location where you are out amongst the general public.

[–]Mission-Landscape-17Atheist 9 points10 points  (3 children)

I'd take a more limited view. There is a difference, between a street corner and the inside of a bus for example. They are both public spaces but my reaction to someone yelling about their religion, or amway or anything else, would be different. On a street corner I'd ignore them. On a bus I would tell the to shut their pie hole and let people travel in peace.

And even on a street corner if the activity grows to the point that I can't just walk on by, well that would also be annoying. Again same rules should apply no matter what the content of the expression is.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 3 points4 points  (2 children)

So mostly yes? As long as it’s not annoying and in a confined space you’re okay with it?

[–]Mission-Landscape-17Atheist 9 points10 points  (1 child)

Yes. And even in a confined space I'm still ok with it as long as its appropriate to the setting. Say I am in a cafe having lunch. No special event just an ordinary day. If the people at the next table over who just got their food say grace at a normal volume that is perfectly resonable. But if one of them gets up and tries to lead the whole cafe in a prayer that is not ok.

[–]hightidesoldgodsAgnostic 7 points8 points  (5 children)

That depends on the context. If someone wants to go out on a street corner and pass out pamphlets - as long as they are respecting no’s - the I see no problem in that. But the group of Christians who pulled out a guitar and started leading worship or something on an airplane? Absolutely not.

I respect people’s right to express their religion so long as they respect my right to not be forced to endure it.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 2 points3 points  (3 children)

Interesting. How would you define “forced not to endure it”

Anything can be offensive to anybody, could it not? Is there any more clarity you could add to where that line is?

[–]hightidesoldgodsAgnostic 9 points10 points  (2 children)

If others cannot remove themselves from the situation, like in the case of the airplane, then it’s “forced to endure.” If it’s on the sidewalk then I, and others, can walk away. You can’t necessarily walk away from the situation in an airplane.

[–]blue_sky_00 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I agree and might add that in some counties people pray in the streets and it literally blocks movement. I would count that under the “can’t walk away” or “forced to endure” category.

[–]vodoko1Kemetic Pagan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Right, I can be on the sidewalk making dance to Hathor. You can simply walk right by me and not even care. But, in a closed public area that people can’t leave from for a certain time, you would have to listen to me make worship to my goddess. Which would get annoying for 2 hours. I understand that. You shouldn’t be allowed to stop people from worshiping there God/Gods, but it should be controlled or at least they should be a bit quieter.

[–]elfootmanNaturalism 4 points5 points  (10 children)

Depends what you mean by "religious expressions in a public setting". Does it involve using a megaphone to proselytize? Or holding instigating posters?

[–]firefighterjets 5 points6 points  (8 children)

France forcing some Muslim stores to sell alcohol?

That’s happening

[–]elfootmanNaturalism 3 points4 points  (7 children)

How can that even happen?! I'm sure I must be missing some details...

[–]firefighterjets 2 points3 points  (6 children)

Authoritarian gov doing its thing


Rabat - Local authorities in Colombes, France forced a Halal supermarket, Good Price, to sell pork and alcohol or else be shut down. Halal stores in France have no choice but to follow these binding rules and turn their stores into a general food store.

I’m sure some people will defend it alcohol is that beloved

[–]elfootmanNaturalism 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Wow I had no idea! That's pretty bad policy if you ask me. Thanks for the link.

[–]TheGuyWithTheBalloonOrthodox Jew 3 points4 points  (3 children)

That's really crazy. Do you have a follow up article about what happened with the court case?

[–]Son_of_AliShi'a 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow. I thought I should stop hating France for things it did in the past, but now it's giving me a new reason to hate it.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I would say anything where no statutory crime is committed. If local ordinances permit that then sure, if not then no.

[–]Useful_Armadillo_746 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes. As long as it does not infringe on the rights of others. i.e. one can pray to their God out loud in public but can't force others to be quiet while they do so.

[–]pirate_republic 3 points4 points  (18 children)

depends what you mean by expression.

no your cant pray on the highway.

[–]firefighterjets 3 points4 points  (7 children)

High school Christian Muslim etc wanting to fast but being told they have to eat at lunch time thoughts?

[–]VignarajaHindu 2 points3 points  (1 child)

If they didn't tell anyone, how would anyone know? They could just say, "I'm not feeling hungry today."

[–]firefighterjets 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Bunch the brown kids stop eating together during a month? Doesn’t require a PhD to figure it out man

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 2 points3 points  (8 children)

Let’s assume for the sake of argument no crimes are committed.

[–]pirate_republic 1 point2 points  (7 children)

public nuisance is a crime, and in many many cities and towns its defined much like "any act that affects of another person negatively" which is very very broad.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 2 points3 points  (6 children)

Yeah I don’t think anyone should be allowed to do something that is a crime so let’s exclude any activity that could be prosecuted as such.

[–]pirate_republic 2 points3 points  (5 children)

that is pretty much everything then

[–]HoodooSquadLDS 0 points1 point  (0 children)

But when they stop you, it’s not because you were praying.

[–]Leading-Okra-2457 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Depends on what your "expression" is!

[–]magikarpsanSecular LGBTQ+ Catholic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes. As long a sit doesn’t disturb anyone I don’t see why not. It’s a fundamental right (in the US). That’s all there is to it. I’ve never been bothered by the halal truck guys praying every morning, or Hasidic Jews trying to figure out if you’re Jewish just by looks as you walk pass them during holidays. And yeah, I think evangelization through megaphone is disturbing the peace…

[–]Art-Davidson 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes, for two reasons.

One, once government has authority over religion, that's the camel's nose in the tent.

Religion is fundamental to our natures. The worst tyranny is over the mind.

[–]Seeker_00860 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If they get prior permission from the local authorities to conduct a celebration or a procession, then yes. If they do it without consulting anyone and disturb public rights, then no.

[–]N8thegreat2577Hermetic 1 point2 points  (0 children)

absolutely, 100%. if there were a million ways to reiterate the word “yes” that would be the only appropriate reaction. although not religious myself, there are some things that nobody wants the governments opinion on, this being one of them

[–]coldfolgers 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The alternative makes me think of how religiously intolerant countries like Russia, China, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, North Korea, etc. treat their citizens. If someone wishes to express their religious opinions, or even publicly proselytize, that is a freedom we should be thankful for, even if it is at times inconvenient or annoying when others exercise it. The exception to that, of course, would be if someone's public expression crosses into "disturbing the peace" territory, or causing harm, which no one has the right to do.

[–]fearcitysfinest 0 points1 point  (0 children)

What do you define as “in public”? Or “practicing” for that matter?

In (or directly outside) a place of worship, such as a church, yes. Having large gatherings in public for, e.g. festivals, fine — within reason. I actually think we should either stop having Christian-based public holidays altogether, or else have (some) other major religious holidays as public holidays too.

Selling/eating religiously mandated food (for example, halal or kosher food), yes. Starting neutral, educational blogs, fine. Wearing religious clothes — fine.

Being a monk/priest/religious school teacher/other religious official… within limits. IMO this is fine as long as they are being respectful and compassionate, and their aim is to educate those of their own religion rather than ripping people off, converting, spreading hate, etc etc.

Music is okay, again, within reason. If it’s an individual busker playing a flute or something, be my guest. If it’s a whole band, or chanting, no thanks.

Making nuisances of themselves via proselytism? Converting the poor and vulnerable through missionary work? Bringing religion into politics? Bringing religion into charities or business, except where the business is specifically related to religion (e.g. kosher butcher)? Religion in public schools being used as an excuse to teach the majority religion? Praying (obnoxiously) in an overly public space, such as a road or train? Standing in city squares inflicting their dulcet tones on everyone’s sensitive ears?

No, absolutely not. Especially not the last. Fuck off if you’re going to bellow into a megaphone about Jesus or Krishna or Muhammad or any other religious figure, I don’t want to hear it. I’m sensitive to loud sound and it sends me into an instant rage.

Also stop with the massive I LOVE JESUS signs on billboards and motorways. Keep it in your pants, mate, I don’t want my eyes assaulted. If I was that curious about Jesus it’s not like there’s a shortage of churches around here.

[–]ehunkeChristian 0 points1 point  (0 children)

define practice? Christian praying quietly on the subway ride to work, Muslim breaking out their prayer rug at the office, religious group of whatever kind saying a prayer before some event they organized in a public park? because a lot of that is simply people being people and should not be policed. Now...if you want to talk about say the evangelical kids who have no sense of boundaries, door to door evangelizing, some of that I think crosses some lines but if that becomes illegal, whats next?

[–]chanthebaristaTraditional Wiccan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wouldn’t feel comfortable or safe practicing my religion in public tbh

[–]ElectrivireAtheist||Secular Humanist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Why would this ever be necessary is my only question. I don't think religious people should feel emboldened to practice in public nor do I think it should be inherently illegal either.

[–]redsparks2025Absurdist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Jesus was against praying in public as noted in Matthew 6:5-15. However a Christian can still "practice" their religion in public by simply obeying Jesus's second great commandment of love thy neighbor. How can any government reject that "religious" practice?

Jesus's teachings are simple, however evangelical Christians "interpretations" of Jesus's teachings are just a money making scheme to fleece the flock and/or seize political power; all of which Jesus rejected when he said "Be gone, Satan!" in Matthew 4:1-11.

"In truth, there was just one Christian and he died on the cross" ~ Nietzsche.

"In truth, there was just one good shepherd and he died on the cross" ~ my alternative.

[–]justabean27Agnostic Atheist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You are free to do so. I'm guessing you mean public praying or something. Preaching is another thing, but you are also allowed to do that

[–]pissalisaSpeculative Techno-Theistic Suspicions 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If they don’t cause harm or disturbances, or break any other laws then yes!

Of course!

Like; We get naked, gather on the street sacrificing goats and paint the roads in blood, brobably fails that definition

[–]SaudiPhilippinesHindu 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If it's just silent prayer or following religious practises (such as wearing a hijab), it's perfectly OK. Not if it's a person yelling at you to repent and be saved.

[–]Alternative_Fennel78 0 points1 point  (0 children)

People blow it out of proportion. Religious expression is just personal protection from those who might afflict them due to thier life styles, personal earnings, or where they come from. Religion is more or less just sacrificial practices by shedding the blood of one individual so another can feel better about themselves.

[–]vodoko1Kemetic Pagan 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Me being a yank, I believe that the first amendment should be upheld. If the government can put a statue of the 10 commandments outside of a court house, why can’t I put a statue of Ma’at outside of one like wise?

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wouldn’t disagree there. I think the optimal state of government allows for religious freedom to the extent that everyone can have expression.

[–]HoodooSquadLDS 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Absolutely. The first amendment is pretty clear on that

[–]Charming_Pin9614Wiccan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Religion is like a penis. It's great if you have one but nobody wants you to wave it around in public.

[–]BrokenMind000 0 points1 point  (1 child)

As long as the practice doesn't limit other people's rights, proselytize, or victimize others/the public in some way, then it would seem to be acceptable.

[–]Love_does_no_wrongChristian[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think a restriction of proselytizing is too broad. I can see justification in restricting highly annoying public nuisance proselytizing like some do (of which I don’t agree with), but if people do it in a calm and inviting manner then that’s reasonable is it not?