"...[A] prohibition on moral judgments against various sexual behaviors is a violation of the freedom, even of the religious liberty, of those who view such behavior as wrong. If we don't have a right to act according to our religious belief by forming judgments according to those beliefs about human conduct and behavior, then, exactly what does the free exercise of religion mean? Can the free exercise of religion really mean simply that I have the right to believe that God has ordained certain things to be right or wrong but that I can't act accordingly? Surely free exercise means the freedom to act according to belief. And, yet, if we are not allowed to act according to belief when it comes to fundamental moral precepts, then what will be the moral implications of religion? None at all. But if we accept an understanding of religious liberty that doesn't permit us to discriminate the wheat from the chaff in our own actions and those of others, haven't we in fact permitted the government to dictate to us a uniform approach to religion? And, isn't that dictation of uniformity in religion exactly what the First Amendment intended to forbid?"
Alan Keyes
(1950- ) US Politician
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Reader comments about this quote:
This man was born with the potential to be infinitely stupid and is living up to his potential. If I were to follow this logic, - AND - if there were a religion in which cannibalism of stupid people was a sacrament, THEN, we might be able to approve of cannibalism of stupid people because well, we could judge that sort of thing and then follow through on the dictates of our conscience, couldn't we? I mean, it would be approved of, wouldn't it? I realize he's referring to judgments in this quote. I also realize that people's judgments are too often used to justify unconscionable actions (and even forcing others to submit to those judgments and actions), which is what Alan Keyes is specifically advocating in this statement. EAT STUPID PEOPLE! (But beware, Alan Keyes is showing signs of having, perhaps, ingested BSE-infected meat products.)
 -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
    BTW, the point of 'moral' implications is as a guide to self-governance, NOT the 'moral' governance of others. THAT'S the purview of laws.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
     -- Anonymous      
    If you are going to include Alan Keyes in these quotes, I am going to exercise my intellectual right to stop reading them. He begins with a false premise and devolves from there. I would have my students rewrite this if they turned it in.
     -- Tom Paleologopoulos, West Hartford     
    Religion is a foundation upon which man may act. It does not differ from any other basis for action, my religion ends where your pre-tweaked nose begins. Once an individual's religion based action causes harm to an unwitting third party, it becomes a lawful matter for justice to correct. That same standard should be extended to free speech and public expression
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I like it. We absolute do have a right to our moral judgements, associations based there on etcetera and the people with different moral judgements that stand in opposition to our moral judgements have a right to theirs. This is what makes us a free and diverse society. Government especially a democratically elected one should insure this diverstity.
     -- Waffler, Smith, Arkansas     
     -- Ethan, Clinton      
    Wow, I think it sounds better in his fast talk then my slower reading of it. Not bad though.
     -- Gölök Zoltán Leenderdt Franco Buday, Vancouver, GVRD(Paine Cnty), Coastal Lwr Mainland BC(State of Neo Sumer), U.S. of Eh!     
    In a nutshell, everyone, religious and irreligious, tries to force their morality on everyone else. Our govt's Bill of Rights legislates morality by saying it is WRONG and IMMORAL to conduct unreasonable search and seizures, (etc). Our govt has decreed drugs, polygamy, and other subjects as IMMORAL AND WRONG. We do it all the time, virtually EVERY time we pass a law. The US govt, who claims to keep religion out of legislation, has decided it is MORAL, GOOD and RIGHT to threaten violence against me, making me pay for Social Security, and they will one day steal more for universal healthcare. I ask them what about my right to privacy and choice, self-determination, as the "Pro-Choice" folk do. Many seek to form a govt that will do an about-face and declare these programs IMMORAL. But it is govt deciding morality in either case, and we can't escape it, for both the religious and irreligious are in Congress pushing their beliefs. "In the final analysis, those who say they want no morals imposed on others really want their own morals imposed on everyone. The truth is, all laws impose morals on others, good or bad. ...It is impossible NOT to legislate morality." (Geisler & Turik, 'Legislating Morality,' Bethany House Publ., Minn., MN, 55438, pg 45)
     -- Paul, Union WA     
    Absolutely brilliant. Man should be president. If you think that you can twist what he said to mean that government should force a religion or a religious code on its people you are a fool. He clearly states the government is not to dictate. I know you thumb down people think you are in support of not dictating moral code but if you ever wake up and take a good look at your belief system you will find that you are the dictators.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Hooray Paul. You are dead on.
     -- warren, olathe     
    One of the most wonderful things about freedom of speech is you get to learn who the loonies are. For instance, when Keyes denounced the Vice-President's own daughter as a "selfish, immature, lesbian." He utterly marginalised himself in the party. As long as people aren't forcing me to change the way I live, they can make all the judgements they want!
     -- Bob, Eugene, OR     
    Alan Keyes: saying in a thousand words what any ordinary man could say in ten.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
    A convoluted argument for interpreting "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" into meaning that those with religious beliefs do have a right to abridge other people's rights in the course of its free expression. Christian Aryan white supremacists believe that other 'breeds' are subservient to their own -- hardly an excuse for exercising one's religion. Congressmen can practice any religious beliefs they wish, but they don't have a right to borrow money from all of us to give to any specific sect or cult, no matter how good one's intentions.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    If Terry Berg were not so arrogant, he might see his ignorance, and in shame refrain from speaking about things he willfully does not understand, and might even learn something, even from Alan Keyes.
     -- Bergmister, Accidental, CA     
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