It’s alarming to me how the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment is being framed these days by government officials. It is being limited to the freedom to believe as you want privately, rather than the ability to practice your faith publicly. Case in point: same-sex marriage. A Christian business owner is free to believe that same-sex marriage is immoral, but they are not free to act on their convictions by denying a request to offer their services in support of a same-sex wedding. They can believe as they want, but they cannot act on those beliefs in a public manner.
This is wrong. The First Amendment guarantees us the right to believe and practice our religion without government interference. The freedom of religion is not limited to the private sphere, but to public expression as well. Indeed, religious freedom that doesn’t allow one to act as if their beliefs are actually true is not religious freedom at all.
If we allow the government to reinterpret the First Amendment as a right to private belief only, we will cease to have true religious freedom in this country. Freedom of religion means that one is free to believe as they want, and to act on those beliefs.