Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements.
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- Everywhere in the world, young men and women like what is forbidden.
- The real lesson of Romero is that there are no legitimate reasons to deny human rights. His government in his time believed that human rights could be somewhat “suspended” to protect El Salvador from Communist influences coming from the Soviet Union via Cuba and Nicaragua. Romero was certainly not an admirer of the Soviet Union, but believed there should be other ways of protecting his country, not suspending human rights. He taught us that those who advocate for human rights are “for” their countries, not “against” them.
...Romero’s key teaching, that there is no reason good enough to justify the violation of human rights, is relevant for both religious liberty and the Tai Ji Men case. There are governments that claim that limiting religious liberty is necessary to protect social stability or the harmony of the country. Romero’s message is that this is not a valid justification. Human rights protection defines what a legitimate social stability is, rather than the other way around.
- The Ghent decision, defining as illegal the practice by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to teach that current members (with the exception of cohabiting relatives) should shun or ostracize those who have been disfellowshipped or have left their organization, is the culminating point of a process that, if left unchecked, will destroy religious liberty and the very notion of freedom as we know it.
Basically, the Ghent judges affirmed the principle that the freedom of an organization to self-regulate itself as it deems fit is a lesser right when compared to the freedom of the individual within the organization. They also imply that a person should enjoy the same freedoms within the organization that s/he would enjoy in the society in general.
It is not an exaggeration to argue that this deeply subverts concepts about freedom that democratic societies have accepted for centuries.
Many have argued that the basic question of Western political philosophy is why we accept to surrender a part of our liberty to join an organization. Wouldn’t it be better to remain free?