Rep. Max Miller dragged by Matt Walsh for bad take on Freedom of Religion (but there is a plot twist)

 Rep. Max Miller dragged by Matt Walsh for bad take on Freedom of Religion (but there is a plot twist)

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

A recent post garnered attention and took Ohio’s 7th District Republican Congressman, Max Miller, by surprise, causing him to react. Although not widely recognized prior to this incident, Congressman Miller proudly displays his identity with a checkmark, indicating his authenticity. He further identifies himself as a ‘Proud Jew’ and uses the motto ‘Semper Fi’ on his profile.

The heart of the controversy was rooted in the principles of Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Expression. These two rights, though intertwined, have different boundaries. Everyone has an absolute right to their beliefs, no matter how extreme or unconventional they may seem. Additionally, people have the right to voice their beliefs, unless it involves threats or incites violence.

To illustrate, one may passionately believe in and speak about a religious ritual that seems absurd to others, like sacrificing a bride on her wedding day. While they can advocate for such beliefs, actually carrying out the act is where the law steps in.

Similarly, an individual has the right to profess their religion as the ultimate truth and express their desire for others to join their faith. As long as it doesn’t involve coercion or threats, it is their right. Just as in the case of Christianity, while believers may wish for everyone to embrace their faith, it doesn’t mean they are imposing it upon others.

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I think what we would be doing is appointing or nominating justices to the United States Supreme Court and other courts who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States. We would not impose a litmus test on any issue because that’s not fair to the American people. But they would have to have a clear record of strict interpretation. …

GOLDBERG: Can you just, and I don’t want to misinterpret what you’re saying? Did you say you wanted strict Constitutionalists? Because that, that-

McCAIN: No, I want people who interpret the Constitution of the United States the way our founding fathers envision-

GOLDBERG: Does that-

McCAIN: -for them to do.

GOLDBERG: Should I be worried about being a slave, about being returned to slavery because certain things happened in the Constitution that you had to change.

McCAIN: I, I understand your point.

GOLDBERG: Okay, okay.

McCAIN: I understand that point and I, I, [applause] thank you. That’s an excellent point.

Religious faiths inherently possess beliefs that might be seen as controversial or offensive to others. For instance, Christians believe in the divinity of Jesus, which is contrary to the beliefs of Jews and Muslims. Such differences should be acknowledged without suppressing or dismissing them. Accepting that we might find others’ beliefs offensive is the bedrock of a pluralistic society. In essence, freedom allows us to hold differing views, even if they seem ‘wrong’ to others.

Returning to the issue with Congressman Miller, the question arises: did he misinterpret the essence of Freedom of Religion or was he influenced by other factors, like public opinion? It remains to be seen.

However, a side note on political figures: it’s often challenging to find politicians who both understand and enact policies that resonate with the majority. Past encounters, like John McCain’s interaction with Whoopi Goldberg, highlight this difficulty. Although the exact video is unavailable, the transcript indicates McCain’s struggle to articulate conservative legal theory, a basic tenet for many.

It raises the question of whether politicians genuinely grasp the principles they promote or if they’re merely parroting what they believe will win votes. This brings to light the appeal of figures like Donald Trump, who, regardless of agreement or disagreement with his views, showcases a tenacity not often seen in his counterparts.

To conclude, while the crux of the debate centers on religious freedom, it’s crucial to remember the importance of understanding, respect, and the right to individual beliefs in our diverse society.

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