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06/11/13

"Freedom of Religion" and "Freedom from Religion"

Source: 12Petals Media Group

You find “Freedom of Thought” explicit in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The “Freedom of Religion” and “Freedom from Religion” are indeed linked to “Freedom of Thought”. They are principles associated with the individual liberty - the state of being free. Liberty is the value of an individual to cherish and enjoy various social, political, or economic rights and privileges. The notion of liberty holds the core of all democratic principles that recognize the freedom of an individual to embrace or deem a viewpoint, fact, or thought, self-directed and independent of others' perspectives.

The “Freedom of Religion” and “Freedom from Religion” are also embodied in the international human rights law. You find “Freedom of Thought” explicit in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which is legally binding on all members of international community.

Religion can be perceived as a systematized assembly of belief systems. They present cultural systems with worldviews that relate humanity to sanctity and their perceived ethical standards.

Regarding the theme of “Freedom of Religion”, Wikipedia offers a fine overview of the research findings. [1] “Freedom of Religion or Freedom of Belief is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religions. [2] The freedom to leave or discontinue membership in a religion or religious group -in religious terms called "apostasy" - is also a fundamental part of freedom of religion, covered by Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." [3]

For cultivating a culture of human rights, the “freedom of religion” and “freedom from religion” need to be highly valued and advocated. Seeking an environment of equality with equal rights and individual liberty that benefits everyone, with or without any type of belief is central to humanity.

Viewed from this perspective and based on consideration for Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are two broad helpful principles: [4]

I. THE SEPARATION OF RELIGION FROM STATE

The separation of religion from state leaves religious people free to practice their religion provided that they do not infringe on the freedoms of others, and allows the non-religious to live without the imposition of religion through law, education, government, employment, or health. This promotes freedom of religion and that from religion.

II. THE EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW FOR ALL

The principle of equality before the law seeks to remove all privilege or penalty for having or lacking religious faith to ensure that no belief, religious or otherwise, receives special protection from criticism and that inequalities which some support within their religion, would not be supported outside of it. Obviously under this principle, blasphemy and apostasy are non-punishable. (See Note 1)

Your viewpoint is important to us. Please share your view and thoughts on these themes.

Note:
1) The principle of equality before the law (i.e., legal equality - Article 7 of UDHR) [5] declares that people are subject to the same law of justice. The fundamental procedural legal requirement is the ‘Due process' principle. States must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person.

References:
1. Freedom of Religion. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved May 5, 2013, from here:
2. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18.
3. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights".
4. “Two broad helpful principles”. QualiaSoup
5. Article 7 of UDHR

Artwork Credit:
Graphic Designer/Artist: Anna Felisha Ott
Image Production By: 12Petals Media Group, Freedom of & from Religion. 2013

Persian translation of this outreach project can be seen here.

About 12Petals: 12Petals Media Group strives to be a union of visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, cinematographers, playwrights, social entrepreneurs and more, all coming together to produce inspired multimedia pieces that promote and encourage respect for those rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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