I posted this in the HUGE post by Barbara Anderson (yes, that one!). I'll provide the context of where you can find it in that post later. But, I've been contemplating this issue, and this is what I've boiled it down to.
Should a religion be held legally responsible for what it teaches, or can a religion, due to freedom of religion, just say anything it wants, back that up in any way it wants, and then walk away without any responsibility for the results of its teaching? Is that what freedom of religion in the US and many other countries means?
Here is my post from the legendary original "Bigger Than..." post
You addressed your post to me, specifically, and I'm not sure why. I think I may remember you from H2O, though I'm not positive. At any rate, I welcome you to JWD, and to this post in particular.
What you wrote still has my head spinning, and I will not comment on it at this time. E-mail me, and I'd love to talk with you. Your first three paragraphs say a mouthful, and I agree.
Your second paragraph totally strikes a chord with me: "In a nutshell, it's because it alludes to the potential (choose one); DOWNFALL, SERIOUS IMPEACHMENT, MORTAL BLOW, HUGE EMBARASSMENT, EXPOSED HYPOCRISY of an Organization that smugly nicknames itself "The Truth" and then has the unbelievable hubris to change it when it suits them. This is the bug I have been salivating over for more than 20 years."
Your history is remarkable. Glad you've decided to resurface. I think you'll find this particular development a "juicy bug" indeed.
One last comment. I just watched a Frontline program on PBS, where certain financial institutions and organizations were severely fined for "knowingly" misleading their investors.
Should religious organizations be any less legally liable for knowingly misleading their members in life and death issues? Why should religions be exempt for making written statements to their followers or potential followers that they know are out of context, misleading and at times outright lies? Religions have literally gotten away with murder for centuries based on a variety of legal, social and political platforms.
Is it not about time that religions - or other groups - have to accept some responsibility for the often deadly effects of their teachings - in particular teachings that have been knowingly bolstered by lies and deceit?
Why should anyone be able to create a body of thought that is scientifically or morally indefensible, back that body of thought up with lies, misleading statements, misquotes and deceptions, spread that body of thought as though from god himself-herself-or-itself, and threaten anyone who disagrees with it with eternal destruction in the future and severe shunning from friends and family in the present - and not have to accept responsibility for that teaching????
This is the ultimate question of The Big News, and perhaps one of the most important questions of our time. We're about to address it.