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Fortnight for Freedom Reflection Day 10

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Finally, government is to see to it that the
equality of citizens before the law, which is itself an
element of the common welfare, is never violated for
religious reasons whether openly or covertly. Nor is
there to be discrimination among citizens.

It follows that a wrong is done when government
imposes upon its people, by force or fear or other
means, the profession or repudiation of any religion,
or when it hinders men from joining or leaving a
religious body. All the more is it a violation of the will
of God and of the sacred rights of the person and the
family of nations, when force is brought to bear in any
way in order to destroy or repress religion, either in
the whole of mankind or in a particular country or in a
specific community.

Declaration on Religious Liberty
(Dignitatis Humanae), no. 6
December 7, 1965

Reflection for Day Ten

Because all human beings possess equal dignity, value,
and worth, the government is to ensure that this
equality is maintained both for the good of the individual
and for the good of society as a whole. This
equality specifically should not be violated on religious
grounds. Each religious body and the members
of that body have equal rights to religious liberty. This
equality demands that there be no discrimination
based upon one’s religious beliefs.

The Council Fathers now stress that, based upon
this equality among its citizens, no government is
permitted to impose in any way “the profession or
repudiation of any religion.” Such an imposition is a
violation of the right to be true to one’s conscience.
Because of the freedom of conscience, the government
is also not permitted to deny a person the right
to join or leave a religious body. The government
has no right to stipulate what a person can or cannot

If the above is true, then the Council states that
it is all the more wrong when “force is brought to
bear in any way in order to destroy or repress religion.”
This not only applies to governments but also
to religious bodies themselves. No religious body is
permitted to harass or seek to eliminate another religious

Within our contemporary world, where is religious
equality denied or religious discrimination tolerated?
Are there instances where one religion violates
the rights of other religions?


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