It has always been with us for as long as man has pondered the unknown, & likely always will. Religious Freedom is a rare thing, in the history of mankind. The roots of religious freedom go further back than the reformation, but i'll pick it up from there. The central tenets of the reformation were these: Sola Scriptura. This is the elevation of the written word, or the Law, over the decrees & whims of man. The scriptures have the final authority, in matters of faith, not the edicts of the ruling elite. 'We must obey God, rather than man.' AKA, 'freedom of conscience'. Human equality, & the Priesthood of believers. This is in sharp contrast to the Statist/Papist doctrine of divine authority of the ruling elite. The Divine right of Kings, Popes, & priests. They believed (or at least taught), that they have a special dispensation of wisdom & knowledge in their decisions, & the common man should submit to the state's authority as to God. There were a few more things, but these were the central, foundational principles, that went on into the Enlightenment, & eventually culminated in the American Experiment. Point #2 became the basis for 'freedom of Religion', in the American Constitution. In the American experiment of collective governance, the principles of Freedom were central to everything else. There were no elite Kings.. no Priests... no Popes. There were no mandated rules for conformity, that everyone was forced to comply with. Govt was forbidden to 'establish' any religious views, & Freedom was the Rule.. freedom to believe however you wish, & live by your conscience. But Statist/Papist/Controllers are always there.. trying to impose THEIR belief systems on everyone else. It has been a constant struggle, to keep the air of liberty fresh, unfouled by the stench of mandated beliefs & religious dogmatism. It is my observation that we are going backwards in this area, & are returning to a Dark Ages style of mandated conformity. The official State Religion has become dominant, & they are censoring any alternatives to their belief system. Some foundational points & definitions: A 'religious' view, or opinion, or belief is a worldview about the nature of the universe.. a philosophical belief, that is not compelled by empirical facts or science. EVERYONE has a 'religious' belief. Even atheism or agnosticism is a statement of faith.. a belief about the nature of the universe. You can relabel it, but the basic concept is a belief or opinion about unknown mysteries of life. Origins, Meaning, Morality, Destiny, are the basic mysteries, that religious opinions try to answer. There are 2 basic views about these basic mysteries: Naturalism, & Supernaturalism. Everything happened naturally, by chance, with no intelligent guidance, or everything happened by the designs of a Higher Power. Both are beliefs, opinions, or 'religious views' as the term is used in this thread. Science deals in empiricism.. facts, observable reality. It has little to say about the religious views of people, regarding origins & the supernatural. Science is a neutral observer, in the debate over religious opinions. It is a method of discovery, not a religion itself. Naturalism is the 'religion', science is a tool. A particular Belief system might hijack 'science!', or pretend that they alone have the right to define everything, but that is semantics & word juggling. It has been my observation, that the 'religion' of Atheistic Naturalism has taken over as the Official State Religious Belief. That belief system has become the dominant & exclusive belief in the State's education systems, the media, entertainment, National Parks, children's shows, the courts, & every institution of man. They have banned any competition from alternate religious views, & have mandated conformity of belief in their naturalistic opinions. These are not empirical 'scientific facts!', but are merely religious opinions, about the nature of man & the universe. The consequence of this trend is increasing religious bigotry, toward any minority opinions. They have used the power of the State to mandate conformity of belief, and the resultant indoctrinees of this 'religion' show increasing hostility & prejudice toward more traditional views, or other religious opinions. Religious Freedom is perhaps the single most important freedom listed in the bill of rights. It is in the 1st amendment, & is central to all the others. If this freedom is not jealously guarded, defended, & elevated as a pinnacle of all other freedoms, then none of the others matter. What use is 'freedom of speech', if your religious beliefs are censored or banned by the State, or the majority opinion of the enabling elite? What good is 'freedom of assembly', if you cannot express alternate opinions about the supernatural in a public setting? In a healthy American public narrative, any attempts to marginalize, ridicule, or belittle other people's religious beliefs would be nipped in the bud.. taken out & exposed as the religious bigotry it is. I welcome rational discussion & rebuttal to any of my points.