Religious freedom soon to be severely curtailed?

Slightly unusual for this Catholic blog, I share with you a letter from the general synod of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. They write to the leaders of all political parties in parliament to urge them not to accept a proposed law that would prohibit ritual slaughter of animals, or any form of slaughter that does not involve sedation. This proposal, if made law, will severely curtail the freedom of religious expression in this country.

The discussion is lively on Twitter, but this is the first official response from a church community. Hopefully the Dutch bishops will follow suit. This proposal is one of the more serious potential infringements on religious freedom we have seen in recent times (matched only once in recent history, during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands…).

The letter makes some valid points why this should not become law. Go read the original or the English translation.

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Published by

incaelo

I'm a 35-year-old lay Catholic from the diocese of Groningen-Leeuwarden. I write about the Catholic Church in the Netherlands. I not only enjoy bringing selected developments to the attention of readers, but I also think that it is sometimes important to allow a wider audience to read about the state of the Church in the Netherlands. That's why a lot of posts about that topic will be translations of Dutch articles, episcopal writings and whatever else.

7 thoughts on “Religious freedom soon to be severely curtailed?”

  1. It’s a difficult topic. When do you consider something to be religious freedom and when does it cross a border. For instance, and I know it’s an extreme example, say that there are people whose religion knows human sacrifice. Is prohibition of human sacrifice in our culture an infringement of that person’s freedom of religion?

    Of course you can bring up less extreme examples, but at one point, moving up towards less extreme examples, you will find a grey area where one’s freedom of religion is hurting other people (or animal welfare).

    I do believe ritual slaughters takes animal welfare into account and that the proposal isn’t based on actual data, but instead on what guides most people currently: subjective feelings.

    It doesn’t make the discussion less valuable, though.

    1. The discussion should be encouraged, certainly. But it can get difficult, indeed. But I think this is a pretty clear-cut situation. Religious freedo is curtailed for no proper reason at all. And that is something we should address.

  2. One person’s ritual slaughter is another person’s torture of animals… If most people in this country see it as animal torture, then they think animal welfare must prevail over religious freedom, in the same way human dignity does over human sacrifices, that’s why I took that as an example.

    It’s the downside of living in a ‘democracy’. Can be very painful if you have a minority point of view.

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