New Website: European Parliament Platform for Secularism

Discuss church-state separation issues that are relevant in Ireland.
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New Website: European Parliament Platform for Secularism

Post by aZerogodist » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:32 pm
The European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Europe (EPPSP) is a forum for Members of the European Parliament and civil society. We work to give a voice to secularism in Europe.

Europe is a community of values. All 500 million European citizens must be heard and represented equally, including secularists, humanists, atheists, agnostics, and liberal religious communities within or without official religious organisations, civil rights movements, and so many individual European citizens with their own values and beliefs. The EU institutions must remain secular, so as to ensure that all religions and life stances are treated equally and have equal possibilities to influence EU policy making.

The Platform defends and promotes Fundamental Rights, with special focus on freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. Freedom of religion is an individual fundamental right, and the Platform will stand up against attempts to use it as a pretext to restrict other fundamental rights.
International pressure
Since 1999, several resolutions on combating “defamation of religions” have been adopted by various United Nations bodies. In particular, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has been very active over the years on this issue. However, while defamation is necessary to protect the reputation of persons against false statements, it does not apply to religions: human rights protect people, not religions. In a joint statement issued during the Durban Review Conference in Geneva in 2009, three United Nation Special Rapporteurs – respectively on freedom of religion or belief, on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance – underlined that:

“(…) the difficulties in providing an objective definition of the term “defamation of religions” at the international level make the whole concept open to abuse. At the national level, domestic blasphemy laws can prove counter-productive, since this could result in the de facto censure of all inter-religious and intra-religious criticism. Many of these laws afford different levels of protection to different religions and have often proved to be applied in a discriminatory manner. There are numerous examples of persecution of religious minorities or dissenters, but also of atheists and non-theists, as a result of legislation on religious offences or overzealous application of laws that are fairly neutral.”

In fact, churches and religious groups should accept criticism, just as every group in society. In a 2008 report on the relationship between freedom of expression and freedom of religion, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters, better known as the Venice Commission) recommended that “the offence of blasphemy should be abolished (which is already the case in most European States) and should not be reintroduced”. ... blasphemy/
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Re: New Website: European Parliament Platform for Secularism

Post by IrishAndroid » Sun Nov 14, 2010 12:27 am

Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
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