By James Hervey Johnson | June 1983
The James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust
The survival of most religions depends upon their ability to suppress, destroy or discourage human freedom. From the beginning of primitive religions developed by the witch doctors, primitive priests and other superstitions, religion has had, as one of its prime factors, the suppression and destruction of opposition. As the religious groups expanded, they demanded more control over the lives of their followers, and more rights to suppress and exterminate those who oppose the destruction of individual freedom.
These religious elements sought and still seek to control and influence the lives of their believers. One of their primary objectives is always to influence and control the sex lives and thoughts of their followers by doctrinal influence and, where possible, by law.
In Mohammedan countries where the Moslem priests have political power, violation of the sexual doctrine and commandments is often punishable by death. The ancient Jewish punishment for adultery was the torture murder of the guilty or allegedly guilty party by stoning death.
Any of the royal violators of the Moslem commandment against adultery is subject to execution by decapitation or the female by stoning to death or plain execution with a bullet to the brain. In the Christian countries, violations of sexual regulations are punishable by imprisonment, prosecution and fines. In the U.S., adultery is grounds for divorce with a penalty on the husband and a probable loss of income by the wife. In the U.S. prostitution is punishable by fines and imprisonment, and in California seductive female police officers solicit proposals by men who are then arrested and are subject to fines for making the proposals to the female officers. Usually the men will pay the fine which is levied by demanding pre-trail bail because they do not want to be embarrassed by having to appear in court.
But all phases of the life of individual are sought to be controlled by the religious leaders. A great program is being conducted by the self-styled Moral Majority led by Jerry Falwell, against homosexuals. Under his program they are prohibited from many occupations including teaching in the public schools and they are discouraged from holding any public position.
In most Catholic countries, birth control information is prohibited and abortion operations are prohibited by law. For a hundred years in the U.S., publication of birth control information was prohibited by law, and sending birth control devices or information through the mail was prohibited.
The celebration of religious holidays such as Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas and Thanksgiving Day is set by law and contracts signed on those days may not be effective.
The religious inclination to direct the lives of others has permeated the mentality of the masses. Each religion or sect seeks to force those under its influence to live according to the directions of the religious leaders. In times past, a single religion would have control over the lives of its victims. For a thousand years during what has been historically referred to as the Dark Ages, the Catholic Church ruled effectively over Western Europe and its influence spread to the Americas, which were conquered with “the cross and the sword.”
During the Reformation and the Renaissance, other religious elements breaking loose from the viciousness and tyranny of the Catholic rulers, emerged. But the various religions, as they developed, also sought to control the lives and mentality of their followers.
For more than half a century, the conception of liberty as determined by the Founding Fathers and by their adherents and successors, has been deteriorating. In the last few years, the great value of liberty has been lost sight of.
The liberty and freedom supported by The Truth Seeker for a hundred years has deteriorated. True liberty demands that each individual live his life the way he wishes subject to his support of the right of other individuals to lead their lives as they wish, i.e., providing that the individual must not interfere with the liberty of his fellow men.
Nowadays, organized groups demanding that others live as they wish them to live when they gain the power, pass laws to force others to do as the selfish group demand.
The destruction of true liberty in recent years has reached the terrible condition that an employer cannot employ those of his choice, nor can he discharge those he does not wish to continue in his employ. He is regulated as to whether he can hire men or women. He is prohibited from selecting those of a race that suits him. He is prohibited from selecting people of the age that he prefers. In other words the employer is forced to follow demands of any organized group which has the political power to get laws passed which favor their demands.
A property owner cannot select tenants that suit him. He is regulated by law. He cannot evict tenants who become unsuitable.
An employer is prohibited from selecting employees whose religious activity may displease him. He is practically prohibited from asking the religious beliefs of prospective employees although employees can inquire about the religious activity of the employer and refuse to work for him if his religion is displeasing to them.
As an example, The Truth Seeker cannot inquire as to the religious beliefs of prospective employees, but on the other hand many employees refuse to work for an atheist organization.
The employer is guilty of the carelessness and stupidity of the employee under present regulations. Ordinary intelligence and common sense would prevent most of the accidents for which the employee receives payment and compensation.
It is increasingly prevalent for attacks to be made upon the individual because allegedly they cause employees to suffer mental damage because of some practice or procedure that the work entails. If the employee suffers mentally by reason of the methods of work, he should quit his job and get something else. Usually he knows in the beginning what he is going to have to do. Mental suffering because of a difference in the ideas of employers and employees is largely fictional. Some Seventh Day Adventists claim they are discriminated against because the work schedule provides that work be done on their religious holidays.
In the U.S. and most other countries, the liberty of the individual is completely destroyed when a law is passed that he cannot operate his business or conduct his affairs on so-called legal holidays. He is deprived of his right to work on the days and times he wishes to. The origin of the word “Holidays” is the abbreviation of “Holy Days” which was to prevent people from working on the days they were supposed to go to church and of course contribute financially to the religious promoters. In many countries today, religion is subsidized by a tax charge levied on all taxpayers whether they are religious believers or not.
James Hervey Johnson was an atheist and outspoken critic of organized religion. For nearly a quarter of a century he was publisher and editor of The Truth Seeker from 1964 until his death in 1988. Through his efforts as an activist and benefactor, Johnson contributed significantly to freethought in the mid to late twentieth century.
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