Home
/
RELIGION & LIBERTY ONLINE
/
What’s next for religious freedom?
What’s next for religious freedom?
Jul 13, 2024 6:57 PM

Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

In a new article for the Catholic Herald, Philip Booth outlines the next battle in the fight for religious freedom. The professor of finance, public policy, and ethics at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, writes that “liberal elites are paying the prices for sidelining” this important freedom.

He argues that while there are definitely threats to religious liberty in the United States, the rights to religious liberty and freedom of association are in far more danger in Europe. He makes this point with three examples.

A couple in Northern Ireland refused to bake a cake with “Support Gay Marriage” written on it and were charged with discrimination:

The judges stated quite clearly that the couple’s action was direct discrimination against gay people. This was so even though they did not know the purchaser was gay and despite the fact that same-sex marriage is not legal in Northern Ireland. In other words, the law is such that people are required to bake cakes with public policy messages on them.

The “gay cake” case not only imposes duties on people who own a business that they may not wish to fulfil, it also undermines the relationship between a person and their work. Christian thinking about work promotes the idea that it is something that should be offered up to God; it should be sanctified. It is not simply a series of activities. Even atheists must surely realise that the personal fulfilment es from being creative through work is something that should be treasured, and not undermined by requiring people to do work they believe to be morally wrong and advocate a message they oppose.

A Catholic Nursing Home in Belgium was fined a significant amount for refusing to administer a lethal injection:

The judge said: “The nursing home had no right to refuse euthanasia on the basis of conscientious objection.” Thus the care home was not allowed to act in accordance with the conscience of its owners and is now forced by law to collaborate with actions its owners believe to be evil. A possible result of this case will be the closure of all Catholic care homes in Belgium.

In other words, the Belgian courts have turned euthanasia into a right, so that all care homes have a correlative duty in law to facilitate euthanasia. This ruling attacks both freedom of conscience and freedom of association. Pluralism is also diminished. It is not possible to have a variety of care homes, with some not providing euthanasia and others providing it, and with people choosing in advance which care home they prefer, according to their values.

Finally, Catholic adoption agencies were forced to arrange adoptions for same-sex couples:

Eleven Catholic adoption agencies with histories stretching back to the 1850s closed down. Before 1850, Catholic adoption agencies had been banned because they were Catholic. After 2010, they were banned because they wished to uphold the teaching of the Church. It is a new slant on the term “no popery here”, but the effect is just the same.

Booth then asks, “Why have these e about?” This may be because of a fairly recent focus on “particular rights” rather than “general freedoms.” He explains:

The problem with a politics that is based on rights and not freedoms is that rights conflict. The freedom to swing my fist stops at the end of your nose. Contracts, property rights, tort mon law and the criminal law are quite sufficient for regulating a society that is based on freedom.

But once positive rights are the main governing principle, such rights can clash. My right to run a care home conflicts with your right to get access to euthanasia any way, any place, any time. The right of an atheist not to be offended by having quotations from the Bible shouted over a loudhailer conflicts with somebody else’s right to free speech and to the practice of their religion. And so on.

In the end, we need plex law to adjudicate these conflicts; and law es not the result of the wise application of enduring principles, as was the now effectively defunct mon law. Rather, it results from a struggle between interest groups all trying to assert their rights.

He concludes by imploring that anyone who believes in liberty should “stand up for freedom of association and freedom of religion.”

Read his full article at the Catholic Herald.

Phillip Booth will speak at the Bloomsbury Hotel in London later today, December 1 at the “Crisis of Liberty in the West” Conference hosted by Acton Institute and co-sponsored by the Institute of Economic Affairs and St. Mary’s University Twickenham London. You can watch a Livestream of the event here.

Follow the conversation on social media using #CrisisoftheWest.

Comments
Welcome to mreligion comments! Please keep conversations courteous and on-topic. To fosterproductive and respectful conversations, you may see comments from our Community Managers.
Sign up to post
Sort by
Show More Comments
RELIGION & LIBERTY ONLINE
Video: Sirico Discusses Multiculturalism on Cavuto
Acton Institute President Rev. Robert A. Sirico made an appearance on Thursday afternoon on Fox News Channel’s Your World with Neal Cavuto. Recently, Cavuto has been addressing the topic of multiculturalism in recent shows, featuring guests like Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party in Great Britian, and Alveda King, niece of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., both of whom share deep concerns about the impact of multicultural philosophy and policy on our cultural cohesion. Yesterday, Neil Cavuto asked...
Video: Todd Huizinga on Russia and Ukraine.
Todd Huizinga, Acton Institute’s director of international outreach, was a guest analyst recently on Newsmakers, a public affairs program produced by WGVU television in Grand Rapids, Mich. Episode description from Aug. 22: “As tensions heighten between Russia and Ukraine, what is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s worldview and what role does Ukraine play in it? How has the shoot down of Malaysia Airline flight 17 killing 298 on board changed the dynamics of the conflict? We explore the internal and external...
7 Figures: Prevalence of Violence Against Children
The UNICEF report Hidden in Plain Sight, which draws on the pilation of data on violence against children, reveals the disturbing prevalence of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of children around the globe. According to the report the effects of violence on children are often lasting and have inter-generational repercussions. Findings reveal that exposed children are more likely to e unemployed, live in poverty, and be violent towards others. The authors of the report note that the data is derived...
How to Turn Corn into Cars
Imagine if a scientist was able to create technology that turns corn into cars. As economist Bryan Caplan explains, we already have such an innovation: foreign trade. Caplan argues that foreign trade is a form of technology that lowers our cost of living and increases our standard of living. In fact, claims Caplan, from a broader perspective trade is even better than most technology since it not only makes us better off, it makes foreigners better off too. ...
Notes on the Question of Inequality
French economist Thomas Piketty This summer’s issue of The City, which includes an article by myself on Orthodoxy and ordered liberty, opens with a symposium of five articles on “The Question of Inequality.” These include two articles on Pope Francis, two on French economist Thomas Piketty’s recent bookCapital in the Twenty-First Century, and one on the Bible. Having recently written a two part article on the subject for the Library of Law & Liberty (here and here), I took copious...
Where Have All The Children Gone?
Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, on Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” discusses how the Obama Administration has refused to release information regarding the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children who have entered the U.S. recently. These children are being sent to munities across the country for shelter and education, but Attkisson says that facts about where the children are going, how much its costing, and other pertinent public information is hard e by. Attkisson discusses the situation in the clip...
Helping No One By Being Socially Aware And Active
If you were told by your doctor to lose weight, you’d likely do what most people do: exercise more and eat healthier food. Jason Scott Jones and John Zmirak have a better plan in mind: Step 1: Start a fitness blog, collecting the best arguments you can find against obesity. Step 2: Comb the Bible, Pope Francis’ Tweets, and the work of your fellow bloggers, for the choicest quotes on the deadly sin of Gluttony. Then post them in ments...
Should Prisons Be Purgatorial?
“If Christians cannot help prisoners find meaning behind bars,” wonders Stephen H. Webb, “how can they expect the Gospel to find an audience among those never convicted of a crime?” At First Things, Webb argues that revival of Christianity will e when we reform America’s prisons: Prisoners are test cases of how Christians deal with sinners in extremis. I don’t just mean passion for the imprisoned can serve as a corroboration of Christian charity, although that is surely true. I...
‘Helping Families:’ Let The Government Have Your Kids
Universal daycare. Universal preschool. Regulations on school lunches. Bans on bake sales. Don’t bring ibuprofen to school. The government knows all about keeping your kids safe and educated. (And the underlying note is that you don’t know enough.) In yesterday’s New York Times, law professor Clare Huntington extols the virtues of government child-rearing. While she does acknowledge that families are the “ultimate” preschool, she quickly recovers by adding that our society just makes things too darn hard for parents to...
Kill The Girls, Traffick The Girls
India’s culture, like many others, prefers boys. Not only do they carry on the family name, they don’t cost the family a dowry. (Dowries are officially outlawed in India, but the practice continues.) There is a cottage industry in India of ultrasound machines: if it’s a boy, celebrate! If it’s a girl….the response is often abortion, and “try again.” Like China, India is now suffering the consequences of gendercide. There are not enough brides for the young men of India....
Related Classification
Copyright 2023-2024 - www.mreligion.com All Rights Reserved