Religious freedom is a hot topic, both within the Church and without.
Nothing makes this more clear than the Church’s recent news conference calling for laws to protect religious freedoms that were described as “eroding.” But what does religious freedom mean for you? And how can you support the idea of fairness for all? We have five tips to help you get started.
Learn about religious freedom. By understanding what religious freedom is, how it works, and what issues are currently being debated, you can take the first steps to becoming involved. The Church has produced an informative video about religious freedom and the history of the church with this important principle.
Practice religious freedom. Whether you write letters to the politicians in your area, vote for certain legislation, or simply go to church with your family every Sunday, you are practicing religious freedom. Discuss with your family, friends, or church group how you can support religious freedom in your own sphere. Do your best to understand legislation and issues facing your community. The key is to discover what works best for you. The Church has provided multiple resources to learn how to become involved.
Avoid contention. While it is easy to support your personal rights, it is often a test of our strength when confronted with others who believe differently than we do or who do not believe anything at all. Follow the continued counsel of Church leaders by treating all people with civility, tolerance, and respect. This is especially true of the online community. We live in a society where we feel we can say whatever we want if it’s through a computer, text, or tweet. Refrain from arguing, “trolling,” and shaming on and offline.
Learn more about others. An easy way to better understand religious freedom is to understand all the parties involved. Do not be afraid to ask questions and engage in civil discussions of those who think or feel differently than you do. Look for opportunities in your community to serve others and help build in any way you can. We have multiple FHE lessons that can also be used to help teach tolerance and understanding. These include: Religious Freedom, Understanding Diversity, Speak Kind Words, and Holidays of Other Faiths.
Share goodness. Just as we should avoid contention, it’s important to be proactive in sharing goodness and promoting principles that can unify and heal us as families, communities, and nations. The Church has specifically encourage us to use social media to flood the world with positive messages, including those about religious freedom. If you feel so prompted, share this article and use the hashtag #fairness4all to support discussion of religious freedom, civility, and free expression.
We hope these tips will give you some ideas on how to better understand religious freedom, how it affects you personally, and what you can do to promote it. What ways do you support religious freedom? What do you make of the Church’s recent news conference? Sound off in the comments below.