Religious freedom is a necessary condition for democratic life

Modern national and international law raises this primordial freedom to the rank of a fundamental one. Freedom of conscience and religion is essential for spiritual development, personal or social. Every religious association – traditional or new, majority or minority, institutional or alternative – has the right to this freedom, as well as the obligation to respect it.

Freedom of conscience and religion gives everyone the right to believe, not to believe and to change their faith, as well as to express it, to practice their own personal beliefs. It provides every human being with the right to orient his behavior and to lead a way of life corresponding to his religious beliefs in a broad sense, ie. every form of man’s relationship with the divine, respectively the transcendent. This freedom, in order to be expressed collectively, contains the right to associate in accordance with the laws of each country.

The freedom of each finds its limits in the freedom of the other, a pluralistically religious society must guarantee religious peace. To find that modus vivendi (way of behaving) that applies justice, eliminates discrimination and imposes a high responsibility on social actors in life: public authorities, civil society, religious communities, as well as those belonging to the cultural and historical heritage, as well as religious traditions of more recent origin and new religious movements.

In a spirit of tolerance, society embraces religious difference and diversity. Every religious community, traditional or newly established, has the right to see its ideas and initiatives honestly presented and without distortion, stigmatization and defamation. And if a religious group reveals its religious, social and financial life and activities, then other public actors must limit the incrimination of the same with offensive generalizations or negative allusions.

The path of interreligious dialogue is the right one to overcome all fears between the individual established by history religious communities and those that have recently appeared on the religious scene. Conducted in respect for the beliefs of the other and for loyalty to one’s own religious beliefs, such a dialogue does not preclude mutual criticism; it paves the way for a peaceful coexistence, providing appropriate conditions for finding solutions to the tensions and contradictions inherent in religious difference.

The ancient traditions of religious tolerance and interreligious dialogue in cooperation use modern spiritual levers through:

     a) creation of favorable conditions for active participation in the cultural life and realization of cultural-educational initiatives;

     b) improving the organizational capabilities, efficiency and sustainability of the Orthodox centers, the development of cultural and religious tourism and good economic practices;

(c) raising awareness and attracting the public interest in achieving a non-violent civil order, lobbying and advocacy campaigns in the field of religious tolerance and interreligious dialogue in accordance with international humanitarian law and human rights instruments.

They can achieve these goals by the following means:

      (a) mobilization of public and private resources for the implementation of charitable campaigns, establishment of scholarships and targeted awards;

      b) preparation and management of projects for financing under national and European programs and other donors;

      (c) disseminating information and promoting good practice;

d) participation in scientific events, discussion forums, research and analytical materials;

      e) cooperation and joint activity with academic, non-governmental, state organizations and institutions.

People of different nationalities and religions can live in peace. First a purely human understanding is reached, then the problems are solved. This is how the Christian works. In the understanding and sympathy between people of different nationalities and religious communities there is always some divine element, a sense of peace coming from above. Any dialogue between people of different faiths could develop on a good basis – the similar requirements for integrity and correctness that we encounter in different religions. This would create trust and tolerance. And at the heart of Buddhism are good norms of human behavior: abstinence from bad desires and violence, not to lie, swear and gossip. The Jewish religion forbids murder, adultery, theft, and lying – in the realm of morality, Judaism and Christianity draw from one treasury – the Old Testament. According to Islam, everyone should do good, be honest, praise the love of truth, the need for unity among people, mutual forgiveness and giving alms. God does not wish evil on the people we call non-Christians, and they are dear to him – when they do good, it proves that God guides their conscience. Thus our duty is this: not to fight with anyone, to pray for both friends and enemies, so that we do not remain blind to the beauty of another’s soul.



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