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On Freedom of Religion

Albrecht Dürer, Sudarium
Held by Two Angels (1513)

Freedom of religion, a principle and a rule grounded in the American Bill of Rights. But what does it mean in practice? If I am a religious person, I have the right to practice my beliefs. If I am not a religious person, I have the right not to practice religion. This seems clear enough. But what if I, as a religious person, believe that certain practices derived from your beliefs impinge on my freedoms? Ay, there's the rub -- and the fuel for ongoing legal battles over such issues as prayer in the public schools, abortion, manger scenes in City Hall, and public or private use of lands held sacred by Native Americans.

Here are a few recommended resources on freedom of religion:

Religious Freedom in the U.S. Constitution Text of the salient U.S. constitutional amendments (1st and 14th) pertaining to freedom of religion.

Religious Freedom A non-denominational site featuring historical backgrounds to our established laws on freedom of religion, as well as information about current legislative activities, challenges, and interest in religious freedom taking place throughout the world.

LibertyNet Links LibertyNet, a Philadelphia-area informational Web site, contains an extensive set of links to resources on freedom of religion collected by the Philadelphia Interfaith Working Group. The slant of these links is progressive, but for balance, the page also includes links to what it calls Radical Religious Right Web sites.

Bibliography A list of recent books published in the U.S. (c. 1994-95) on topics related to freedom of religion.

R.O.B.I.N.--Religion or Belief Information Network A worldwide network created to protect the right to freedom of religion as stated in Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.

For Still More Information

You can find hundreds of resources on religion in the McKinley Internet Yellow Pages and the McKinley Magellan Internet Guide.

Posted July, 1996.
© Copyright 1996 OBS