Protecting the right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion goes right to the heart of the kind of society that we all want to live in. That is the message that will be heard today at the launch of a joint animation by the Human Rights Commission and the Evangelical Alliance.
The short animation was developed by the Commission in partnership with the Evangelical Alliance. It explains that human rights laws mean that the government and public bodies are required to respect and protect the diversity of religions and beliefs in Northern Ireland.
NI director of the Evangelical Alliance, Peter Lynas said: “Belief, thought and conscience are critical to who we are. That is why it is great to partner with the Commission in talking about the fundamental right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion. It is so important we ensure the vital role of faith in the public square. We hope this animation will help people to talk openly about their faith or beliefs, sharing them with others, rather than seeing faith as a private matter. It also fits well with the Speak Up resource we produced with Lawyers Christian Fellowship about the law and gospel freedom.”
Chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Les Allamby commented: “We are pleased to launch this animation today with the Evangelical Alliance. It provides a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the human right to freedom of conscience, thought and religion. As a society it is important that we respect the freedom to hold different religious beliefs or to hold no religious belief at all. There is an important legal and human rights framework that protects these issues, while recognising the parameters within which it applies. We hope that everyone will watch the animation and consider the wider issues it raises.”
Peter Lynas went on to say: “There is much that we agree with the NI Human Rights Commission on, the modern human rights agenda has been significantly shaped by Christian thinking. There remain areas of profound disagreement; but part of the point of this partnership is to show how we can work together for the common good while continuing to disagree well. We hope this can be a model followed across the rest of the UK.”