Religion and human rights can co-exist The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is finally open. It’s a magnificent building for a magnificent mission: to promote the idea that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

One of those rights is the right to religion. According to Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the freedom to change religion or belief, and the freedom to worship, believe, teach or practise religion any way they want.

Unfortunately, far too many people today don’t enjoy those freedoms. In some countries, it is illegal to convert to another faith. In other countries, people are persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and killed for their beliefs. This includes Christians in Iraq, Baha’is in Iran, Falun Gong in China and Muslims in Myanmar, to name a few.

But that’s not our problem — right? Denying people rights based on religion only happens in other places, not in Canada.

Not so fast say critics, noting there are religious groups in Canada that deny women the opportunity to be clergy, that preach that only their group is right or will get to heaven, or that exclude people who are gay.


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