04 March 2014

The European Parliament and Religious Freedom

Not many Americans are even aware of the European Parliament. One might wonder how many Europeans take it seriously. In any event, you can go here to read a post titled "A historic day for international religious freedom in the European Parliament." What's so historic, you ask? The final report of the European Parliament Working Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

I have no idea what, if anything, will come of the report (which you can download from the post linked above) but it does a fine job in only 24 pages of describing what's wrong with much of the world (including the world's two largest nations, China and India) in terms of freedom of religion. The report describes with clinical dispassion what transpires in many Muslim-majority countries.

The report describes efforts undertaken by the European Union to promote religious freedom and urges that more be taken up, especially in connection with bilateral trade negotiations with nations including India. Frankly, I don't hold much hope that the EU will take a leading role; after all, the State Department of the United States pays little more than lip service to religious freedom especially when it comes to important "allies" like Saudi Arabia. Still, it can't hurt to have a voice apart from Christian organizations taking up the defense of the "first freedom."

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