Date & Time: FRIDAY, 9 DECEMBER 2016 from 13.00 – 17.30
Address: NØRRE ALLÉ 7, 2200 KØBENHAVN N
Globalization implies that people from different religious tradition share the same society and law. AS national law and society has local historic roots, it may fail to properly recognize unfamiliar religious practice, from an unfamiliar cultural background.
Working in the field of freedom of religion and belief, Soteria International comes across an increasing number of cases, worldwide, where the individual religious practice is restricted by national law and prejudices of society.
The 9th annual Spiritual Human Rights conference in Copenhagen aim to map religious freedom in Denmark and Europe from this perspective. We invite religious practitioners to share experiences, concerns and hopes with politicians, scholars and human right experts.
The conference is hosted as a round table, and we will aim to present the conclusions in a briefing to the Danish Parliament.
During the event, we will raise and debate a variety of questions, such as:
In our present, globalized, world, people of different religious traditions share the same society and law, but not the same system of values. In our society, we are witnessing a restriction on the freedom to choose a spiritual path, due to the fact that society understands the actions of individuals in a local paradigm of behavior that is appropriate to the rules of social life in a respective region. As national law and society have their roots in local history, these two aspects risk to fail in properly recognizing unfamiliar religious practice from cultural backgrounds other than their own.
Currently, there are guidelines stipulating how to register one’s religion, or church, but there are no institutions available in support of spiritual communities even though we often observe that organized religions are giving argumentations, or perspectives, on other spiritual traditions. This interference can result in a variety of conflicts, thus, rather than aiding the individuals in a society towards their beliefs it’s creating more confusion, opposition and conflict.
We have arrived at a time where certain behaviors, rituals, or actions, related to a spiritual path can be misunderstood simply due to the fact that they do not fall within the behavioral limits known and accepted by society. However, in a democratic society based on the rule of law, all fundamental rights – including the right to the freedom of religion – are rights that belong to each individual, regardless of affiliation to a majority or minority; and nobody – not even the majority— has the right to prohibit, or impede, the application of these rights.
Therefore, social order and rules of social coexistence must adjust to the changes taking place at the social level, without abusively restricting fundamental human rights and freedoms. To ignore, for example, the practices and outward expression of a given spiritual path, and to analyze the behavior of people without regard for the system of values from which that spiritual path comes, inevitably leads to a violation of freedom of conscience, thought, and religion.
The individual human right to freedom of spiritual belief and practice has been ratified by all EU member states, and is, therefore, legally binding. When it comes to the freedom of religion and belief there are many differences in interpretation and application.
Let us not forget that the purpose of law is to regulate social relations, and rules of conduct are in constant evolution, bearing the imprint of each individual, part of that society. Analysis of a person’s actions must take into account their spiritual particularities, and ignoring them is a clear violation of their fundamental right to religion, thought and conscience, limiting their freedom to choose a spiritual path consistent with their personal intrinsic values.
Working in the field of freedom of religion and belief, Soteria International comes across an increasing number of cases, worldwide, where the individual religious practice is restricted by national law and the prejudice of society.
This year, the 9th annual Spiritual Human Rights conference, in Copenhagen, aims to map religious freedom in Denmark and Europe from this perspective. As there are many different approaches to a spiritual path, and many different ways to manifest beliefs, it’s important to provide a forum under which these communities may discus and learn how to peacefully co- exist.
The conference will be hosted as a round table event, and will aim to create a unified response from the religious and spiritual community for a briefing to the Danish Parliament. We, therefore, invite religious practitioners to share experiences, concerns and hopes with politicians, scholars and human right experts.