A group of academics, parliamentarians and religious leaders met November 25 at Newbold College in England to consider how the many restrictions that governments have established in the name of security against terrorism may or may not be impacting freedom of religion. The dialog focused on hate speech laws, resistance to certain visible spiritual practices (especially those related to Islam), and related items.
Religious leaders are concerned about new restrictions on the practice of faith and even the freedom of religious speech. But one member of parliament pointed out that "Christian churches have been slow to respond to the issue of child slavery and the manipulation of humanitarian aid as weapons of Islamisation."
Europe has become quite pluralistic in faith and values. It has practiced an even higher degree of tolerance than is usual in the U.S. and that tolerance may have been used against it on occasion by extremists. Of course, elected officials want to quiet the fears of the masses by instituting safeguards, but it is time to ask what price must be paid for security. Do free peoples want to move into a national security state in order to avoid some terror threats? Remember, nothing is 100 percent secure, not even Orwell's world of Big Brother. We are trading X percent less of freedom for Y percent more of security, and the actual numbers are very, very debatable; almost impossible to resolve precisely.