Freedoms of Expression

Freedom of conscience and religion, like freedom of speech, is essential to any democratic society. We must keep our heads and unite around democratic values, applying them to others as we want them applied to ourselves. We must all be able to think, wear and say what we like, subject only to personal ethics and restrictions truly necessary for the protection of others. This may not always make us comfortable but it will keep us free.” ~Shami Chakrabarti

The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion includes:

  • the freedom to change religion or belief;
  • the freedom to exercise religion or belief publicly or privately, alone or with others;
  • the freedom to exercise religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance; and
  • the right to have no religion (e.g. to be atheist or agnostic) or to have non-religious beliefs protected (e.g. philosophical beliefs such as pacifism or veganism).

Freedom of religion does not prevent there being a state church, but no one can be forced to join a church, be involved in its activities or pay taxes to a church. The role of the State is to encourage tolerance and all religions or non-religions, if regulated, must be regulated with complete neutrality. The right to exercise, or manifest, one’s religion or belief will not generally be considered to be interfered with if a person is left with a choice as to whether or not to comply with his or her religious obligations. However, there will be interference if restrictions make it practically difficult or almost impossible to exercise the religion or belief. (Source)

The following campaigns show how corruption within governments often prevent citizens from practising their basic freedoms of expression. Dr. Steve Best excluded from the UK for criticising vivisection. Hindus at the Skandavale multifaith temple treated like second class citizens below the Welsh Farmers Union. Bahai’s in Iran are constantly faced with charges of espionage and jailed, simply for expression of their faith:

Bring Back Best

Justice for Shambo

Justice for Bahai’s in Iran

Share share share!!