"religious bodies - including institutions linked to the Catholic Church - need to be free to act in accordance with their own principles and specific convictions based upon the faith and the official teaching of the Church"
Pope Benedict XVI, speaking at Westminster Hall, London on 17 Sept 2010.
In an interesting, if somewhat intellectual, analysis of the roles between religion and State, the Pope bemoaned the 'marginalisation of religion" in modern societies. Within the speech were the above words.
Freedom of religion is a precious and deeply treasured aspect of most modern democracies – yet that freedom is moderated by the requirement to honour and uphold the moral and/or ethical standards within a society as manifest by laws that protect human rights.
'Marginalisation' is nothing more or less than the refusal of society, and the peoples that constitute society, to accept a lower standard of behaviour from religious organisations than is required, practised and manifest within secular society.
Freedom to act within a religion pre-supposes a basic fundamental of respect for others. This is integral in Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc.etc. Time after time in ancient writings of any and all of these religions the same message is found – behave towards others as you wish them to behave towards you.
As has been observed before on this blog, society is now teaching ethics and morality to the major religions. For as long as that continues – and the major religions continue to espouse outdated and immoral standards of human rights – for this long shall the major religions continue to be marginalised.