in a libral democracy

pluralism of religion

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In a liberal democracy, pluralism makes
religious liberty more not less necessary
It should concern us all that today's human
rights industry exists as a totalising creed
for a secular humanist agenda
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Dave Landrum, Tuesday 6
March 2012 18.26 GMT Comments (...)
Trevor Phillips, head of the Equalities and
Human Rights Commission, recently said
that religious rules should end 'at the door
of the temple'. Photograph: Antonio Olmos
for the guardian
Charles Malik, the Christian architect of
the universal declaration of human rights,
battled against intense Soviet pressure to
secure basic definitions of rights for
groups and individuals as a protection
against arbitrary state power after the end
of the second world war. But what we have

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They favour some
minority identities and disfavour others.
If anyone has any lingering doubts about
the myth of secular neutrality, they should
take a look at the 2012 review of human
rights, launched yesterday by the Equality
and Human Rights Commission. The report
gauges the extent to which our society is
enjoying our rights through a set of
protected characteristics such as race, age,
sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, marriage
and civil partnership, gender reassignment,
and last (and also least), religion and belief.…read more

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The review explicitly states that religion is
to be trumped in any dispute over rights
claims. Really. It says that an employer
"may legitimately refuse to accommodate an
individual's religious beliefs where such
accommodation would involve discrimination
on the basis of other protected
This is the much talked about "hierarchy of
human rights" in technicolour.…read more

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Christian all-party parliamentary
group. It found that, although much of the
recent human rights legislation was
introduced in the name of equality and
diversity, what it actually enforces is
inequality and sameness. Unsurprisingly, the
report recommends that in light of such
profound religious illiteracy, the commission
needs urgently to be reviewed and
restructured.…read more

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It is
foundational. Other rights such as freedom
of association, speech, assembly, movement,
representation, expression etc, depend on
it. James Madison once observed: "The
rights of conscience ... is one of the
characteristics of a free people." And this
was confirmed in recent debates in
parliament that identified freedom of
religion as the "litmus test" for emerging
democracies in the Arab spring.
Our own liberal democracy desperately
needs to remember that pluralism makes
religious liberty more necessary, just as
religious liberty makes pluralism more likely.…read more

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Reconciling the competing rights claims of
different groups will always be a complex,
messy and thankless task. The task is made
harder by a law that bundles rights
together and then treats them unequally.
The law performs a double disservice when
it eschews any pleas for reasonable
accommodation, instead preferring to pit
one group against another. But when we
review the condition of human rights today,
this is the situation we find. It is
unsustainable.…read more


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