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View Poll Results: Is Freedom of Religion as a right outmoded?

26. You may not vote on this poll
  • It's perfect! Don't touch it!

    15 57.69%
  • Right idea, but it has problems.

    10 38.46%
  • A mistake, but a good one.

    1 3.85%
  • A mistake, and a bad one.

    0 0%
  • Orlando Bloom

    0 0%
Results 1 to 25 of 115

Thread: Freedom of religion: outmoded?

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Question Freedom of religion: outmoded?

    From a recent discussion in the Atheism and Non-Theistic Spiritual Writing forum:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
    Why does one need freedom of religion if one has freedom of association and expression?
    I thought it was worth raising here for broader discussion.

    Here's how freedom of religion appears in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
    Article 18.

    Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
    There are numerous other clauses around religious non-descrimination elsewhere, but that's the core of it.

    And for our US AWers, how it appears in the US constitution:
    Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
    And because the world is not just the US, here it is again in the constitution of my own country:
    116. The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.
    You get the gist.

    So here are some 'for' arguments:
    • Historically, religious persecution has been rife. Freedom of religion is a humanitarian principle;
    • Religions are important to people and run deeper than just what we say and whom we hang with. It should be enshrined as a fundamental right;
    • If we didn't enshrine freedom of religion as a right, then it would give the state license to play favourites; and
    • If we didn't enshrine freedom of religion as a right then the state could compel whatever religion it wanted -- even if we were free to object to it.
    And here are some 'against' arguments:
    • The right to worship is already covered under the right to associate and express;
    • The right to think freely is broader than the right to worship, and includes the right to worship and not to worship;
    • Religion is hazy and ambiguous. It includes worship, beliefs, traditions, taboos, and customs -- some of which may be antisocial or harmful, and some of which are inflicted on children and the vulnerable. Freedom of religion prevents groups from being fully accountable for their social behaviour and the treatment of their at-risk members;
    • Freedom of religion has been cynically exploited by self-interested groups for both profit and power;
    • Many religions themselves have proscriptions against religious freedom in their dogmas. Why then does a right protect religions that don't protect the right?;
    • There's some evidence that freedom of religion hasn't prevented states from playing favourites with religions;
    • Numerous states seem not to want freedom of religion (and perhaps none of them really do); and
    • Is there any place today where freedom of religion is still working as intended?
    Over to you.
    Last edited by Ruv Draba; 07-08-2009 at 09:33 AM.

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