We all are part of the Earth "The earth is the mother of all people and all people should have equal rights upon it." Says Chief Joseph one of great Chiefs of the Nez Perce people. This should include the right to our spiritual practices as individual human beings and distinct cultures. We are in one harmony and universal interconnectivity “Embracing and learning from our differences, changes fear of the unknown into acceptance and tolerance leading to the ultimate bond of unification” Johnathan Shooting Star, in the Confluence of life as distinct human beings living and learning how to love the Creator and the creation, ourselves and others as the Spirit of the Creator has given to each of us this right. This is a right not a privilege. No religion or human should ever impair another from seeking and fulfilling and taking responsibility for his own understanding of his relationship with the Creator. The religions of the world should work together in solidarity for all who seek this goal. Chief Joseph also said "I believe much trouble would be saved if we open our hearts more". We invite anyone who wishes to join in this discussion with love and unity.
What is Meant by Religious Rights and Freedom
The Church in each place must be free to define the mission it believes it has received from God. Likewise, individual Christians and other believers must be free to practice their faith in whatever manner they believe necessary, commensurate with their not violating the same freedom of others. In addition, we affirm the understanding of religious freedom embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other international covenants. While some actions taken in the name of religious rights may be ambiguous and will have to be addressed on a case-by-case basis, we believe that religious rights include at least the following:
Every person has the right to determine his or her own faith and creed according to conscience.
Every person has the right to the privacy of his belief, to express his religious beliefs in worship, teaching, and practice, and to proclaim the implications of his beliefs for relationships in a social or political community.
Every person has the right to associate with others and to organize with them for religious purposes.
Every religious organization, formed or maintained by action in accordance with the rights of individual persons, has the right to determine its policies and practices for the accomplishment of its chosen purposes, which implies the right:
*to assemble for unhindered private or public worship
*to formulate its own creed
*to have an adequate ministry
*to determine its conditions of membership
*to give religious instruction to its youth, including preparation for ministry
*to preach its message publicly
*to receive into its membership those who desire to join it
*to carry on social services and to engage in missionary activity both at home and abroad
*to organize local congregations
*to publish and circulate religious literature
*to control the means necessary to its mission and to secure support for its work at home and abroad
*to cooperate and to unite with other believers at home and abroad
*to use the language of the people in worship and in religious instruction
*to determine freely the qualifications for professional leadership of religious communities, freely naming their religious leaders at all levels and designating their work assignments.
(Reprinted from Freedom of Faith in the ULC Textbook)