Blazing the path: Freedom of conscience as the prototypical right


Freedom of Conscience is absolutely necessary for a liberal democracy. It is from the conscience that commitments to truth are made. Once the state protects the blossoming of individual conscience, it simultaneously enables the individual to pursue other endeavors such as freedom of speech, which fosters the discussion of truth; freedom of association, which allows the like-minded to work on common projects; freedom of assembly, which permits citizens to congregate together and debate issues of common concern; and so on, without fear of state reprisal. Freedom of Conscience has blazed the path in liberal democracies to enable the further development of other human rights. This paper traces how these freedoms emerged from religious tumult and came to be recognized in liberal democratic nations today.


freedom of conscience, law and religion

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