Is Your Religious Liberty Really Being Threatened?

From the Huffington Post: How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions

“1. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.
B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own choosing.

3. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am being forced to use birth control.
B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.

4. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to pray privately.
B) I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.”

Visit the full article

As I’ve written before, fear of being hurt, losing money, status, resources or other forms of privilege can cause us to cling tightly to systems, values and beliefs that may be oppressive to others who may seem different from us. While we may think that we’re holding onto something for ourselves, in limiting the capacity of others, we lose as a society collectively.

“When we become aware that who we are is tied to everyone else just like the water in the bottle is tied to the river it was collected from then it becomes clear that our acceptance and love for others is a reflection of how much we accept and love ourselves.”—Dr. Lumas Helaire


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW, LLMSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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2 Responses

  1. Dinandrea says:

    Thank you for this post, Relando. As I read it, I thought about another blog, The Weekly Sift. That blog is written by ex-mathematician, Doug Muder.

    In a blog post titled The Distress of the Priviledged, where Muder coins the term Privileged Distress and explains that one way to get the dominant, core-culture, priviledged class to empathize (and, hopefully, later gravitate towards more progressive, equity-based thinking) is to acknowledge the “losses” of the privileged.

    As social workers we understand the importance of and value in providing some form of validation in order to disarm someone who feels defensive. Validation and acknowledgment of priviledged distress is a step in teaching, or re-teaching empathy.

    If you haven’t already read it, I’d like to invite you to read Muder’s post. Please share what you think of it.

    Thanks again.

    Dinandrea Vega, LCSW

    • Thanks for sharing your comment Dinandrea! I’m really glad you stopped by. Yes, I’ve read that article before. Sure, it can be very challenging for a person who has all their lives been socialized to believe that their bodies/lives/existence/thought processes are superior to others, to come in contact with experiences/information/realities that contradict that socialization.

      Sometimes in my work I encounter the belief that people who are privileged should have their emotional needs met before they can accept their own privilege, and tune in to how what they are doing contributes to the oppression of others, and that the impetus falls on the marginalized person to do so.

      I don’t subscribe to that narrative.

      For me, I think that when people are confronted with the reality of their own privilege, they should be allowed to sit in their discomfort, feel the gravity of that reality, and not be rescued. Most especially when the reality check is being given by a person who is oppressed in relation to them.

      I also see Social Work as a means of working toward social justice by challenging dominant narratives and actions that reinforce those notions of superiority. Ensuring that the privileged have their needs recognized or met first before doing the work required to right the wrongs that have been done doesn’t challenge dominant narratives. It reinforces their superiority and further marginalizes the oppressed, and i’m not here for that.

      I did appreciate the author’s acknowledgement that the comparisons of “loss” were not the same, because they aren’t.

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