This week on LoveWorld USA News with Holy McClure, a segment on the importance of state and religion was featured. The full report can be found here.
A UN report found that the right of religious freedom can be undermined because of the relationship of the state and religion. The study conducted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief (OHCHR). Ahmed Shaheed emphasized the obligation of states guarantee freedom of religion, particularly with growing diversity through migration.
“The challenge in the world today is to respond to the growing diversity of communities and migration. Be it people migrating for work, or refugees; brings this question of increasing diversity in communities. What would work best for supporting diversity and pluralism would be those models that put a distance between religion and state. What is essential of course is that the state be able to fulfill its role of being an impartial guarantor of rights for everybody. When state identifies with a religion it might in some cases try to defend and promote and protect that religion at the expense of individuals who may or may not subscribe to that religion. What will help state deal with the influx of refugees and migration and growing diversity is to have a principle distance between state and religion. One where the state can cooperate or accommodate religions without discriminating on account of religion or belief.”
To have a real pluralistic society one needs to respect freedom of expression as well as that requires blasphemy laws are not implemented or even used. Shaheed noted that there was no model that is self-sufficient to guarantee everybody’s rights. He added that freedon of belief requires pluralism, respect for human rights, respect for freedom of religion, and belief in law and practice.