“Gentleness and cheerfulness, these come before all morality; they are the perfect duties,” stated Robert Louis Stevenson. “And it is the trouble with moral men that they have neither the one nor the other. ... If your morals make you dreary, depend on it they are wrong. I do not say, ‘give them up,’ for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.”
I am offended by the obnoxious belief that morality is the divine providence of the “faithful”. The rhetoric of those who seem to cling to their faith, afraid of dissension or doubt, would have us believe that theirs is the only path that leads to moral righteousness and values, (without ever clearly defining either of these). Love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, and a deep faith in the institutions of family and marriage are not restricted to any single faith or doctrine, in fact there often seems to be a decided absence of tolerance and love in cases where there are extreme followers of one or another doctrines.
Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. I am free to define God as I experience God. I am also free to deny God; that is my choice. Embracing the values described above is not contingent on either position.