Religious rights are a sensitive topic not only because they involve delicate issues of personal conviction but because the debate does not merely revolve around freedom of religion but also freedom from religion. In any case there are certain threshold conditions for religious rights before liberty in this area can emerge. Pluralism, economic stability and political legitimacy, and willingness of different religious groups to live together are all necessary conditions for religious rights to thrive.
Within a state it is vital that there be some form of diversity or divergence from the norm that is accepted at least to the extent that it is not persecuted. Since religion can be a power force in a society it is important that the political and economic structure be fairly strong so as not be to reduced by a religious regime. Religious liberty is also not possibly unless varying religious groups are willing to live together. This is a particularly difficult issue to iron out in ethnic religious wars. This problem can only be solved if there is a provision within the religions that calls for tolerance.
It is believed by most in the West that separation of church and state
is a highly important provision; however, those who disagree do not necessarily
believe in the entire negation of freedom of religion. There are varying
degrees in which the state and a religion can be related.
*Steiner, Henry J. & Philip Alston. International Human Rights In Context: Law, Politics and Morals. Oxford Press. 2000.
Copyright © Laura Rowe.