Different freedoms

Distinguishing attacks on religion and by religion

Refine legislation so that it is flexible enough to distinguish between attacks on religious-freedom and society protecting itself from dangerous religious politicization


In order to facilitate Mirrored Tolerance, legislation must be flexible enough to interpret ‘attacks against religion or race’ quite differently to situations where society-at-large (or maybe a subset within that society) seeks protection against increasingly-threatening human interpretations of religious faith or against deliberately politicized faith. In any community, basic rights often conflict. Agreeing to be a member of a given community means accepting a trade-off between personal rights and the rights of the community as a whole. It means accepting that your individual actions may have wider consequences for which you are still responsible – and will be held accountable.

Religions are no different in this. For example, the right of individuals to believe or not believe in one or more supernatural beings does not imply the right to impose those beliefs on others. Freedom of Religion is not Freedom of Imposition. And even Religious Freedom in practice must these days reflect both civil liberty and social stability. When it comes down to it, to maintain overall stability in a multicultural community, the laws of the State must always dominate over potentially-conflicting religious rulings – whether on rights to family planning, abortion, female equality, gay equality or the acceptance of scientific proof. Even the rights of parents to bring their children up as they see fit do not automatically supersede the rights of children to expect that society will protect them from intellectual, just as much as physical, abuse.

It only exacerbates threats to economic and social stability if governments attempt to duck these sorts of issues. In the modern world, many politicians try extremely hard to avoid suggesting that there even are any downsides to Religion – at least in their own country. For instance, in some European cities with unintegrated Moslem populations, concerns about social unrest are usually positioned in terms of racism or nationalism. That is potentially misleading. In those cases, the root-cause of any social misalignment often rests less in race as in religion and the associated stereotypes that each community holds of the other. Indeed, as indicated by the nationality of recent suicide bombers, it was their religious convictions not their ethnicity that drove them (at least to try) to detonate themselves.