faith and association
page is under development.
Freedom of religion and of association is a foundation of
the liberal democratic state, reflected in some national constitutions
and in several international human rights agreements.
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1948 (UDHR) thus provides that -
has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief,
and freedom, either alone or in community with others and
in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief
in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
18 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political
Rights 1966 (ICCPR) provides that -
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience
and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or
to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom,
either individually or in community with others and in public
or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship,
observance, practice and teaching.
2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair
his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of
3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be
subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law
and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health,
or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake
to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable,
legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education
of their children in conformity with their own convictions.
In relation to association the ICCPR provides that -
The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions
may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those
imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary
in a democratic society in the interests of national security
or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection
of public health or morals or the protection of the rights
and freedoms of others.
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association
with others, including the right to form and join trade
unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this
right other than those which are prescribed by law and which
are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of
national security or public safety, public order (ordre
public), the protection of public health or morals or the
protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article
shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions
on members of the armed forces and of the police in their
exercise of this right.
For freedom of religion in early modern Europe see John Marshall's
John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture:
Religious Toleration and Arguments for Religious Toleration
in Early Modern and Early Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 2006) and Peter Zagorin's How the
Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West (Princeton:
Princeton Uni Press 2003), superseding W. K. Jordan's The
Development of Religious Toleration in England (1932-1940).
For somewhat more recent times see Owen Chadwick's Secularisation
of the European Mind in the 19th Century (London: Cambridge
Uni Press 1975)
Works on the US tradition include Martha Nussbaum's provocative
Liberty of Conscience (New York: Basic Books 2008),
Philip Hamburger's Separation of Church and State
(Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press 2002) and Marci Hamilton's God
vs the Gavel: Religion & the Rule of Law (Cambridge:
Cambridge Uni Press 2004).
Cultural dimensions are highlighted in The Rights of God:
Islam, Human Rights, and Comparative Ethics (Washington:
Georgetown Uni Press 2007) by Irene Oh.
Pointers to studies of blasphemy
and apostasy feature
elsewhere on this site.