Religious Freedom
Religion is defined as a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. Religion has been the cornerstone of many societies and civilizations throughout the history of humanity. There are around twenty-two major religions in the world today, and over 250 variations and new religious movements. With so many religions around the world, religious equity is very important. Individuals often differ in their beliefs and practices with respect to religion but the difficulty lies in acting upon these beliefs in an exclusionist manner. The belief that your religion is superior and therefore more acceptable than others is a problem if used to persecute or isolate groups. Legally speaking, in western democracies religious diversity is to be respected. Doing so is defined as religious equity: being impartial, just and fair towards all religions and treating their participants equally. Unfortunately, countries all over the world do partake in some inequity, most notably in first world countries such as Canada, Australia, and France. As a result of Constitutional status, Catholic schools have been publicly funded by three provincial governments and three territories in Canada. This stipulation has been declared to be in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights enacted by the United Nations. In 2004, the French government passed a law forbidding people from wearing religious headgear or symbols. This has since led to a ban on full-face veils in public. These examples reflect religious inequity, since preference is being given to one religion over the other. The natural implication of this situation is that one religion is superior to the other. Also, in China, most religious freedoms have been denied. The Falun Gong, a religious sect dealing mainly with meditation practices and superstitions originating from old Chinese beliefs, have been outright banned from China, while other religious beliefs are practiced covertly or under heavy supervision from PRC soldiers. Historically, countries usually encourage their country’s official religions through their schools and laws. While age-old traditions are difficult to break, changes are necessary to make sure that every citizen of the world is free to do what they want with their beliefs as long as they don’t bring harm unto others. Initiatives have been taken in the United States of America to change the academic status for most religions in the State of Louisiana, where a bill has been passed regarding a proposed voucher program for state funds in order to pay for religious schools. While the effects for religious equity from this program are yet to be determined, it is a step toward achieving religious equity. Everyone on Earth should have the right to be treated equally under a nation’s laws and constitutions. Religious inequity in countries all around the world impedes this. As role models for other countries, it is important that this Group of Twenty nations commit itself to the resolution of religious inequality.

Source: http://www.lhsg20.ca/dependencies/resolutions/2012/HR002B.pdf

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