Dublin Declaration on Religion in Public Life

At the World Atheist Convention in Dublin on 3-5 June one of the subjects being discussed is the Dublin Declaration on Religion in Public Life which hopes to build on last year’s Copenhagen Declaration. To that end a draft declaration has been circulated to start the discussion between now and June. Here it is:

Personal Freedoms

  • Freedom of conscience, religion and belief are unlimited. Freedom to practice religion should be limited only by the need to respect the rights of others.
  • All people should be free to participate equally in public life, and should be treated equally before the law and in the democratic process.
  • Freedom of expression should be limited only as prescribed in international law. All blasphemy laws should be repealed.

Secular Democracy

  • Society should be based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Public policy should be formed by applying reason to evidence.
  • Government should be secular. The state should be strictly neutral in matters of religion, favouring none and discriminating against none.
  • Religions should have no special financial consideration in public life, such as tax-free status for religious activities, or grants to promote religion or run faith schools.

Secular Education

  • State education should be secular. Children should be taught about the diversity of religious beliefs in an objective manner, with no faith formation in school hours.
  • Children should be educated in critical thinking and the distinction between faith and reason as a guide to knowledge. Science should be taught free from religious interference.

One Law For All

  • There should be one law for all, democratically decided and evenly enforced, with no jurisdiction for religious courts to settle civil matters or family disputes.
  • The law should not criminalize private conduct that respects the rights of others because the doctrine of any religion deems such conduct to be immoral.
  • Employers or social service providers, with religious beliefs should not be allowed to discriminate on any grounds not essential to the job in question.

Please remember this is only a first draft, and we want to have a full and frank discussion about this document so that we can create a final form that is acceptable to the majority of us. To that end we at AthesimUK are starting this discussion over at our forum, please contribute so that we can get as wide a set of opinions on board as possible.

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