Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Conference on Tolerance

organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Held in Almaty, Kazakhstan (which is a part of Europe?). Hadn't heard about it. Zenit gives the statement of Abp. Jozef Wesolowski, who headed the Holy See's delegation to the conference. Nothing too earth-shattering. Need for dialogue and mutual understanding and common ground. Religion should have a place in the public square. But then, the rest of the statement seems to be about how the media should not offend beleivers.
If, in the name of an incorrect interpretation of freedom of expression, member states were to allow the religious sentiments of individuals or entire communities to be offended, the same states would not only be unable to effectively contribute to dialogue among different religions, cultures and ethnic groups, but they would also risk prejudicing it. This dialogue has to be based upon knowledge and respect.
Hmm. I don't know. Yes, it would be nice if the European (and Western) media in general let up on Christianity. However, and perhaps my secular "roots" are showing here, I appreciate some of the criticism that the media direct at religion in general. Don't want (or need) a self-censorship that would overlook the faults of religious leaders (or followers!) for fear of offending!

Here's the press release from the OSCE about the conference.

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