On June 6, 2007, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief held a meeting of religious leaders at the House of Lords in the UK. The purpose was to look at the challenges presented to various faiths in the implementation of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states,
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Suraj Sehgal, the director of Hindu Council UK had some interesting remarks.
The right to freedom to change religion and to freely practice it both in teaching and observance has been grossly abused by aggressive proselytisation through fraud, force and deception. Article 18 should be amended to ban such conversions and the government should legislate against. it. The predatory religions seek the destruction of others faiths and cultures, others way of life, by sending missionaries whose religious freedom is enshrined in their mission to convert other God loving people into their own religious clubs, thereby seeking the destruction of other religions. Everyone has the right to convert through their own heart’s persuasion but MISSIONARY CONVERSION activity is a form of violence on the society it converts as it seeks to destroy their original way of life. History bears witness to it; when will the UN protect religions like the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs? (emphasis in original) Hindu Council UK
These thoughts are not new. In 1997, psychologist Nicholas Humphrey compared religious education of children to female circumcision and, among other things, cited the pervasive disbelief in evolution as evidence.
We do live–even in our advanced, democratic, Western nations–in an environment of spiritual oppression, where many little children–our neighbours’ children if not actually ours–are daily exposed to the attempts of adults to annex their minds. The Edge
And he goes on to argue that in order to protect the children from the violence of wrong beliefs about evolution, the existence of God, astrology, etc., we should do away with the idea of parental rights all together. Instead, we should look at the relationship as one of privilege, to be revoked by society in the event of wrong teaching.
Because sharing religious belief is a violent act.
I think I prefer the age of relativism to what appears to be looming on the horizon.