Freedom of Religion

There are so many cases of communal rights and persecution of religious minorities daily in spite of the fact that most democracies give their citizens the freedom to practice a religion of their choice. However, in reality, is freedom of religion a myth? Let's find out ...
SpiritualRay Staff
"Freedom" means acting and speaking without any kind of restraint and religion means, "to bind fast". So here we are to discuss the topic of freedom, which intends to bind people. No, we would not discuss types of oxymoron. Religion in the present context means a set of beliefs, which are eventually different for people all over the world and in a nation with a specified boundary there can be people who have faith in different religions. Freedom of religion gives these various to follow any religious belief that they want to. It is considered and also been given to people in many countries as the fundamental human right. In fact in 1993 the Human Rights Committee of United Nations, which is an independent unit, defined it in a unique way, which said something to this effect that any individual or group has the freedom to not practice a particular religion.

What does Freedom of Religion Mean?

Religion is a sensitive issue for people all over the world. It gives people consolation and hope and forms an integral part of their identity and to an extent has great potential for peace and reconciliation as well giving rise to a conflict. Freedom of religion encompasses some of the core and peripheral aspects of religious faith and its manifestations.
  • A state that provides people freedom of religion gives them the right to congregate and worship and establish places of worship and maintain them.
  • Freedom of religion is not granted but is definitely protected by the state. There are not articulate laws but then there is something pertaining to the protection of these rights in every democracy.
  • In most of the democracies religion and state form two separate bodies and their fundamental principles and ways of working are kept apart.
  • In most of the democracies there are no separate offices and organizations that look after the religious affairs of the state though state does help communities to acquire places of worship and grants aids to maintain them. At times these places are exempted of tax.
  • States also do not interfere with the content of the religious books used for education or sermons neither are people stopped from celebrating particular days that hold importance for them in their religion.
  • There can be faith-based schools and they are also given the freedom to participate and contribute in the civil society. In some of the states there are religious institutions (other than state religion) that run old age houses and orphanages.
  • Media, religious officials and government officials are also given the right to investigate and report religious reports.
There have been communities that have been struggling for freedom of religion from eternity which has led to numerous conflicts that ended with pain and tragedy. But today there has been an advancement in terms of religious tolerance as the United Nations did declare that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."