The same Bill of Rights which protect freedom of speech also protect freedom of religion. The Founding Fathers did not envision a freedom FROM religion, rather a freedom OF religion. In other words, our nation’s constitution protects the rights of ALL religions, not one and not just a few. Attacking the most sacred elements of a religion is not free speech anymore than would be perjury in a court or libel in a newspaper.
. . . Individual freedoms are limited by the boundaries created by the inalienable rights of others. The freedom of religion means that no one has the right to attack, malign or grossly offend a faith tradition they personally do not have membership or ascribe allegiance.
Uhh, yeah, we do. Sorry if you don’t like it, but this is America, not Afghanistan. There is no “your speech hurt my feelings” exception to the First Amendment. If there was, there would be no such thing as free speech. Everyone, religious and non-religious, would constantly have to watch their tongue, lest they offend someone else’s religion. Sure, it’s good manners not to intentionally offend people. But the law does not enforce manners. Nor should it.
BTW, If you don’t know, the specific occasion of the Bishops’ anger is two recent incidents in which people removed a consecrated host from a church. The first one occurred in at a public school in Florida. A student took the host to protest student fees paying for religious services. National Catholic Blowhards called for the student’s expulsion. Regular thugs just sent death threats. In protest of the insanity, University of Minnesota Professor P.Z. Myers asked for readers of his blog to send him a host, which he then destroyed. National Blowhards called for his firing and regular thugs sent death threats.
In my opinion, not only are the thugs and blowhards dead wrong about the law and freedom, but they don’t even really understand their own theology. Sure, no one but a good Catholic is supposed to take communion, and sure, the host deserves all respect. But isn’t this thing supposed to be God? Can’t he take care of himself? In other words, all the regulations are not to protect God, but to protect the handlers. They make us treat the host with respect not because God needs our respect, but because we ought to respect God. Not following the regs, then, won’t hurt God, it will hurt us. Accordingly, the focus ought not be on defending God, but on rescuing those who defame him. Rather than call for Myers’ death, the faithful ought to have prayed for his soul. Or if that’s too mushy, how about just letting the whole thing be, leaving God to deal with Myers and the student? Surely either of those options would be more productive than calls for death and civil enforcement of religious laws.