Faith and Freedom: both are legacies of America’s Founding Fathers. Jefferson declared that the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were self-evident and endowed by the Creator.
Benjamin Franklin’s design for the Great Seal of the United States depicts the parting the Red Sea and bears the inscription “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”
Six years of intense hardship and harrowing conditions culminated in 13 colonies winning their independence from England. But it was another eight years before the Bill of Rights created the consensus resulting in the ratification of the Constitution bringing them together as a nation.
Showing the deep commitment to religious liberty, the first amendment placed it first of all freedoms guaranteed by the document:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
An article on the website of the UK-based Ethical Journalism Network states the problem and the need for increased responsibility in the reporting of religious issues:
“Hate speech presents a major challenge to today’s journalism. Socially conscious journalists have been rightly alarmed at how rapidly hate-filled messages seep into, and often overwhelm, comment on the internet. Less talked about is how journalists’ own professional procedures—including how news is defined—may amplify the voices of hate propagandists. Then there are the media outlets that purvey intolerance, serving as ideological spokesmen and cheerleaders for forces of hate, from xenophobics to religious extremists.”
The article calls for journalists “to develop their ethical capacities to respond to the real risk of serious harm being promoted.”
A solution to this problem is the Charter on Journalistic Ethics in Relation to Respect for Religion or Belief published by the Church of Scientology International in the booklet What is Freedom of Religion? which can be downloaded from this website.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.