7. Religious freedom enhances education, the arts, and cultural traditions
Why is religious freedom generally important?
Religious freedom stimulates art, expression, and creativity.
Historically and currently, religion, belief, and faith are major topics in art, theatre, film, and music. Many great works of art were commissioned by religions, and faith-inspired work continues to touch many people today. Artists who can fully express themselves, which requires freedom of religious speech, are free to create more and varied works.
Religious organizations send volunteers to assist education and literacy in developing countries.
See, e.g., Bible League, Newsroom, http://www.bibleleague.org/newsroom/ghana-literacy (discussing benefits of a bible-based literacy program in Africa and Asia).
Religious freedom helps preserve national and ethnic cultures and traditions through rituals and ceremony. When religious freedom is limited, displacement of religious groups can lead to a loss of these traditions.
"In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of members of religious communities in recent memory. In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. In conflict zones, mass displacement has become all too common... Members of minority religious communities were disproportionately affected by violence, discrimination, and harassment. In many regions of the world, religious intolerance was linked to civil and economic strife and resulted in mass migration of members of religious minority communities throughout the year. In some of these areas, the outward migration of certain communities has the potential to change the demographics of entire regions permanently."
U.S. Department of State, Fact Sheet on 2013, International Religious Freedom Report, July 28, 2014, http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2014/07/20140728304540.html#axzz3Fhk5dmyN
Restraints on religious freedom lead to restraints on other freedoms, including education rights.
In Pakistan in 2009, the Taliban, violent religious extremists, banned girls from attending schools in the Swat valley. Malala Yousafzai, a young girl who lived in the Swat valley and wanted education for all, stood up for education of women in Pakistan and was targeted in a Taliban attack in 2012. Yousafzai survived the attack, and stands for the right of women and girls to receive education. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her efforts. Basharat Peer, "The Girl Who Wanted to Go to School," The New Yorker, October 10, 2012, http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-girl-who-wanted-to-go-to-school; Declan Walsh, "Two Champions of Children are Given Nobel Peace Prize," New York Times, Oct 10, 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/11/world/europe/kailash-satyarthi-and-malala-yousafzai-are-awarded-nobel-peace-prize.html?hp&action&_r=0; "Malala Yousafzai, Portrait of the girl blogger," BBC News Magazine, Oct 10, 2012, http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-19899540; Owais Tohid, "My Conversations with Malala Yousafzai: The girl who stood up to the Taliban," The Christian Science Monitor, Oct 11, 2012, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/1011/My-conversations-with-Malala-Yousafzai-the-girl-who-stood-up-to-the-Taliban-video