Conflict of freedom of religion and national security

Words of freedom

(Photo: Leoncillo Sabino/Flickr/CC BY-SA)

Rights of individuals, whether it be freedom of religion or the ability to obtain installment loans, have always served as a countermeasure to the power of the state and national security. After the rise of terrorism brought on by religious fundamentalism, the right of religion is being weighed against the right of the state to protect itself. And this dispute between two significant and essential rights has become more prevalent today.

Religious freedom a contentious issue

The idea of “freedom of religion” refers to more than one religion. But a multiplicity of religions has always meant conflict, and religious conflict has often led to war and human devastation. This was the state of reality for centuries and millenniums, and it is hardly a ringing endorsement of religious freedom. This was the idea of tolerance of religious difference — an idea that was offered in response to the long and bloody history of religious conflict that had included, in Europe alone, the Crusades, the Islamic conquests, the Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, the Holocaust and just recently, the religious fundamentalism that engages in terrorism.

Universal Declaration in the present century

For the last half century, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has set forth a formula focused on averting religious conflict. Under Article 18 of the Universal Declaration, everyone has the right to freedoms of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change one’s religion or belief and the freedom, either alone or in the community, to manifest one’s religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. In parallel, Article 30 reads: “Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any state, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

The concept of religious freedom and tolerance

The concepts of religious freedom and tolerance — allowing individuals to believe in, practice and promote the religion of choice without repercussions — are legitimate and worthwhile. However, in recent years, certain organizations have tried to use these concepts in their efforts to a) prevent or attack critical evaluations of their teachings and practices, and B) to fight against efforts to establish guidelines or laws governing such issues as unethical recruitment tactics, fraudulent fund-raising and other unlawful acts.

Building of a mosque in New York

A recent issue closely linked to this matter is when New York defended the building of a mosque near the site of the twin towers. Despite many who contested it, plans are still in the works. This clearly establishes and reinforces the fact that the United States is a country of rights and freedoms, particularly of religious tolerance. Despite the trauma and detriment it suffered during the 9/11 attacks, it still respects and is tolerant to certain religions. One thing’s for sure: no matter what your religious beliefs may be, an installment loan is still an option you can benefit from.


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