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Individual Rights Within Religions

Updated on October 2, 2017

State Constitutions and Individual Rights in Religions

It is said that right to belief is the highest form of individual rights. It is true, but the exercise of it is not guaranteed within religions but according to a State Constitution.

Guarantor of Religious Beliefs

The exercise of religion or belief therefore is only guaranteed not by the religious authorities but by civil authorities or by a state constitution. The religious authorities can encourage an exercise of religion but not impose it to anyone.

Believers Rights to Sacraments

It has been observed that individuals or people are generally expressive of their beliefs and will observe it through religions. Some biologists are looking for G*d-gene within the DNA of individuals and it seemed that they agreed they found it. G*d-gene in a sense that people that have this gene are predisposed to call on a higher being. Though, if we looked at history of religions, we will find that there were religions that were repressive of their members. Very few religions can say that they freed their adherents from superstitions. That is if we looked at history of religions.

Fast forward to our day 21st century: We will see that there are religions or beliefs that seemed to give freedom and rights to their adherents. One among them is the Catholic Church or the Catholic Religion. It is enshrined in Catholic Constitution that the members should receive their Sacraments from birth up until death -- there are seven for the Catholics. For them it is a right for being a Catholic. If a person was not provided with any of the Seven Sacraments it could be construed that the adult person has violated the tenets of his religion in serious manner. Children though are always given the Sacrament of Baptism.

For those who do not follow Catholic Religion, among Christians and have abandoned the Seven Sacraments, what left are they to them as believers' rights? Rights within the context of their beliefs. It would be lacking if they could only receive the right to receive sermons during celebrations (also of baptism and matrimonial ceremony).

For example, do the marriages contracted within their religions valid that the religion can also annul or divorce and recognize it by the state? It seemed that the civil authorities have to give their approval, specifically the civil courts, before they divorce marriages. The rights therefore, within the context of religions, are affected if not outright subservient to the enshrined rights of individuals within civil constitutions.

Among the Seven Sacraments, a non-member of the Catholic Church can validly administer baptism, because of special circumstances, and not violate any tenets of the Catholic religion. On the other hand, the author has not read or known any Catholic Marriage contracted outside of the Catholic Church and not administered by a Catholic Priest or Catholic official. And in all circumstances only the Church can annul or void a marriage contracted before it. Marriages outside the Church are not honored within the Church but to some extent the Church believes that civil union divorces should not be allowed. Could be one way of saying that the Church, therefore, acknowledges civil unions.

Nevertheless and so far, only the Catholics, Orthodox believers and other religions immediately derived from Catholicism, have rights enshrined in their beliefs' constitutions. And yet, all of these rights are being legitimately looked at by civil constitutions vigilantly.

The author is not aware of constitutions of other major religions except perhaps to say that the their Holy Scripture/s are their outright constitutions.

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