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The Foundational Character of Freedom of Religion or Belief

By JoAnne Wadsworth, Communications Consultant, G20 Interfaith Forum

This blog was initially presented as the keynote address at a session titled “Preventing Violence, Promoting Freedom of Religion or Belief – An Overview,” held on Tuesday, 5th July, 2022 at Portcullis House, Westminster, UK. It was sponsored by The International Center for Law and Religion Studies. The event was hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, among others, with funding from ICLRS and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Today, I want to advance seven reasons for thinking freedom of religion or belief is foundational: It is historically foundational, philosophically foundational, institutionally foundational and empirically foundational. It is instrumentally foundational, in that it is the best tool we have for forging peace in a highly pluralistic world, and it is intrinsically foundational, because it protects the core of human dignity. Finally, it is foundational in being a critical criterion of justice. Let me provide a thumbnail sketch of each of these points.

Keynote Address

Professor Cole Durham

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