Traditionalist Conservatism Forum
    > Human Rights
        > Discussion on the Cairo Declaration
New Topic    Add Reply

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>
Author Comment
JasonEubanks
Unregistered User
(7/4/01 3:35 am)
Reply
Discussion on the Cairo Declaration
The Cairo Declaration of Human Rights is a starting point for religious traditionalists. Its substantial connection to Islam in spite of the pressure to separate church and state is admirable. Some of the sections are well thought out and articulated. However taken as a whole, the document appears to be little more than the equivalent of a programming wrapper for Islamic Law, written to appease the Human Rights movement. It also has one fatal flaw in particular: the possibility of religious dissent is not even mentioned in passing let alone properly addressed. This mistake is mind boggling, because if you base your society on a religious truth then you had better expect that some will not accept it as such.

Its attempt to deal with the dissent question in Article 10 in totally inadequate:

****
Islam is the religion of true unspoiled nature. It is prohibited to exercise any form of pressure on man or to exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to force him to change his religion {from Islam} to another religion or to atheism.
****

Note the refusal to grant freedom of religious belief (let alone practice) to any religion including Islam. However, itís safe to assume that the freedom to practice Islam is granted. The comment in braces is mine to bring the content of the article closer to what I think to be the authorsí intent. It certainly answers a lot of questions. In any case, I base by arguments on the unaltered article as printed and translated.

In the first sentence we have a declaration of the truth of Islam which is fine. More troublesome is the prohibition of proselytism by pressure and exploitation of the poor and uneducated, which is equated to conversion by force. Itís not that this, in effect, criminalizes any and all proselytism that is objectionable; itís the fact that this contradicts rights and obligations mentioned elsewhere. It would seem that not only interpersonal, physical and group pressures are prohibited but also mass psychological, educational, institutional, and economic pressures. If this is so, then itís not clear how the government can reconcile this with the demand in Article 9 to promulgate Islam. Article 10 also equates proselytism to coercion, which seems to imply that a convert has been wronged in some manner that must be legally rectified. How is this to be accomplished? Inverse coercion? Monetary Compensation? Lawsuits? What if he is a convert to Islam? Can he also demand the same compensation, even if itís the government that converts him in a effort to satisfy Article 9? Also, the prohibition against exploiting the poor and uneducated is plainly not needed. Atheism and Scientology are quite effective at exploiting the educated and rich, respectively. This phrase seems to confer an additional protection to the poor and uneducated which runs afoul of Article 1a.

Most troubling is the fact that it leaves all questions unanswered about other religious groups and their rights, responsibilities, and protections. What about mixed marriages? Is it legal for Christians to build a church or even to pray in public? Egypt says yes and Saudi Arabia says no. What if Saudi Christians seek asylum from religious persecution in Egypt? Then what?

Let me get to the my point in all of this. If it is a particular religion is deemed to be essential to society, then it follows that its institutions and clergy must be protected from heresy, public ridicule and undesirable competitors. The question is how can we protect a religion and still give more than lip service to religious freedom? As those goals diametrically opposed?

JimKalb 
ezOP
(7/6/01 4:00 pm)
Reply
Re: Discussion on the Cairo Declaration
I'm not sure what constitutes lip service. There are a number of possible conceptions of religious freedom.

It seems to me the conception accepted today in the West is so broad as to be incoherent. It demands equality for all religions, and for religion and non-religion. But if all public affairs have to be carried on based on the assumption that one religion is no more true than any other, because otherwise religions would be treated unequally, they will necessarily be carried on the antireligious assumption that religion is irrelevant to important and comprehensive aspects of human life. So in fact irreligion will be established and religion correspondingly suppressed.

Maybe some comparisons would help. The state of necessity must take a stand on fundamental political principles, and I suppose it is entitled to promote its view among the citizens. It can build public monuments and establish public holidays. It can require citizenship education and prescribe its content. In most Western countries it can prohibit speech and public observances (e.g., Nazi rallies) that promote radically contrary principles. It can also attempt in various ways to force its principles on foreign countries that reject them.

Or consider medicine. Presumably, medical science is not an area in which the state has any special competence. Nonetheless, the state is presumed able to recognize sound medical principles and act on them when relevant. It can act to protect and promote public health, for example by banning smoking in restaurants. It can require health education in schools. It can set standards for medical practitioners and prosecute those who make false medical claims.

Why should religion be altogether different? It also has to do with basic social principles and the well-being of the people. Religious views differ, but so do political and medical views. It seems there should be limits to the use of force in religious disputes, but the same is true in regard to all disputes regarding what is right and true.

You ask narrower questions though, about:

1. The right to change or reject religion.

2. The right to engage in public observance.

3. The right to proselytize.

It seems to me difficult to make changing or rejecting religion criminal. A man believes what he believes. For me though it's hard to go much beyond that as a matter of universal human right applicable to all men and all religions everywhere. But then it seems to me that kind of universal abstract principle can't apply to much except the grossest abuses anyway.

On the other hand a society or religion could recognize for its own reasons a broader system of religious freedom. For example, there might be freedom of public observance and private persuasion, subject perhaps to limitations to prevent situations regarded as abusive. Or maybe something else. Once you give up religious freedom as a broadly-defined absolute any number of possibilities open up.

Jim Kalb
counterrevolution.net and www.human-rights.f2s.com

JasonEubanks 
Registered User
(7/7/01 9:08 pm)
Reply
Re: Discussion on the Cairo Declaration
        In the abstract, I think that differing religious views can be accommodated to a certain extent. As you point out, men will always believe what they want. Denying them at least some organizational, social and cultural structures seems counterproductive.

        On the other hand, there are sound reasons to limit religious dissent. It appears to me that religious heterogeneity gives rise to secularism in the first place. Most Ďoutí religions have a strong disestablishmentarian political bent and, after all, radical secularist politics cannot be justified without their existence. Sometimes the religious groups present threats themselves. Some create prolonged social unrest (English Puritans). Others develop extreme antipathy toward the existing order and may ferment rebellions, endorse lawlessness or exhibit other antisocial behaviors (Huguenots, Old Belief, Jonesboro) . Others may try to bring foreign intervention from religious ally states (Thirty Years War, Palestine). Still others cater to the immoral (Khlysty) or are obviously fraudulent in nature (New Age, Scientology). Of course, some are also generally peaceful.

I agree that one of the truisms that liberalism has shown us is that a state cannot remain truly neutral as far as religion is concerned. It must defer to one and only one religious tradition, otherwise irreligion becomes established by default. Appealing to the lowest common denominator doesnít work. If religion is essential for good personality development, a peaceful order and the basis for relating to our fellow man, then I think that state must establish a religion as true and act accordingly. Though it remains unclear to me how much an established religion would effect other granted rights like speech.

JimKalb 
ezOP
(7/8/01 8:47 pm)
Reply
Re: Discussion on the Cairo Declaration
I agree there's always some sort of religious establishment or the equivalent, so the current doctrine of religious freedom, which demands equality among all religions, doesn't make sense. There's always some view on religious questions that is privileged.

So it's hard to make universal categorical statements about religious freedom. It seems to me that in many ways freedom - religious or otherwise - has to do with the history and circumstances of particular societies. It's like any other aspect of politics. There's no universal prescription that fits everyone everywhere.

Jim Kalb
counterrevolution.net and www.human-rights.f2s.com

<< Prev Topic | Next Topic >>

Add Reply

Topic Control Image Topic Commands
Click to receive email notification of replies Click to receive email notification of replies
Click to stop receiving email notification of replies Click to stop receiving email notification of replies
jump to:

- Traditionalist Conservatism Forum - Human Rights - On to Restoration! -

Upgrade your account to ezSupporter......and never see another ad or pop-up again


Powered By ezboardģ Ver. 7.3u
Copyright ©1999-2003 ezboard, Inc.