The freedom of religion is a fundamental and human rights , which allows each person the personal individual religious beliefs as a religion or belief to exercise freely and publicly. This right begins in Germany with the age of religious majority . In addition to belonging to a religious or ideological community, this also includes cultic acts in accordance with their normative teaching and their active dissemination . In particular, it also includes the right not to belong to any religion, not to believe in a god ( atheism ) or to evaluate religious assumptions in principle as undecidable ( agnosticism ). The rights of children who are not of religious age are laid down in Article 14, Paragraph 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child . Like any other fundamental right , religious freedom can collide with other fundamental rights (“ norm collision ”). The legal clash between the German Basic Law (Art. 7) and Art. 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is still not legally clarified ( headscarf dispute ).
Definitions and general legal aspects
Forms of religious freedom
A distinction is made between positive and negative religious freedom:
- Positive religious freedom is the freedom of a person to found or join a religious community and to take part in ritual acts, celebrations or other religious practices. This also includes the freedom to stand up for personal religious / ideological convictions (for example, by not taking an oath formula in a religious / ideological neutral form, but adding it to the oath, for example, so help me God ).
- Negative religious freedom (freedom from religion) is the freedom of a person not to belong to any or not to a certain religious community or to be able to leave one and also not to be forced or compelled to participate in ritual acts, celebrations or other religious practices . This also includes the freedom not to reveal personal religious / ideological convictions and the right to take oaths in a religious / ideological neutral form.
In addition, a distinction freedom of belief , freedom of religion , as well as private and public exercise of religion freedom, especially in its relation and the legal consequences for the public sector:
- Freedom of belief as freedom of choice of belief in the narrowest sense includes the freedom to choose a religion. This aspect of religious freedom is one of the elementary human rights in the context of freedom of thought , freedom of conscience , freedom of expression and similar fundamental rights. This also includes the freedom to change one's beliefs (freedom of conversion ), and one speaks more generally of freedom of belief and belief (in relation to negative freedom of religion).
Religious freedom in particular, is to express the extended right, his faith privately or publicly, so pursue his religion from others and also to confess (this corresponds in contrast to the pure faith suffrage as the distinction within the freedom of expression, only according to its own opinion to act, or but also to express them explicitly).
- Compare secret religion in the context of not having that special or extended right.
- To act according to the rules of one's own religion and to follow its practices is also specifically called freedom of religious exercise:
- Private religious practice includes practicing in one's own environment. This includes, for example, praying at home and in silence, or personally following religious laws of purity. The question of the extent to which one's own household and its members are involved in religious practice is part of the general question of the extent to which the home has public aspects (e.g. in the context of raising children, domestic violence and similar matters), i.e. the question of privacy in more detail and wider sense
- Religious practice, on the other hand, is public when it is perceived by bystanders. This includes, for example, the construction of sacred sites, publicly accessible or even in public ceremonies, the display of religious symbols, but also religious instruction and other matters in the public interest. This area is typically state church law , i.e. public law that deals with the relation of society as a whole to religion and its members. Even in modern states, these religious freedoms are relatively strictly regulated and usually associated with forms of legal recognition of a religion or denomination.
Then there is the individual religious freedom and the collective religious freedom for religious groups and associations, and the interactions between these two rights.
Basics in international law
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; This right includes the freedom to change one's religion or belief, as well as the freedom to manifest one's religion or belief, alone or in community with others, publicly or privately through teaching, practicing, worshiping and performing a rite.
Religious freedom is also laid down in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN Civil Covenant).
Article 18 of the UN Civil Covenant does not explicitly mention the right to change one's religion . In the opinion of the UN Human Rights Committee , which interprets the civil pact and examines its implementation, the right to change one's religion or belief is a necessary consequence of the right to have or to accept a religion or belief. Art. 27 UN civil pact explicitly guarantees religious minorities the right to profess and practice their own religion .
The Convention on the Rights of the Child also contains norms for the religious freedom of minors (Art. 14).
If a signatory state violates the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg can be referred to.
The Cyrus decree of the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great (approx. 538 BC) on a preserved clay cylinder attests to religious tolerance. This resulted in the ancient Persian financing and the "order to build the temple in Jerusalem ", which is mentioned in Jewish tradition in the Tanakh and in the book The Education of Cyrus by Xenophon .
The Milan Agreement granted religious freedom in the Roman Empire from 313 . The edict of the Three Emperor of 380 ended the nominal religious freedom of the 4th century in the Roman Empire and is considered an essential step in making Christianity the state religion in the Roman Empire.
European Middle Ages
In the German-speaking world, Jews were tolerated or persecuted in the Middle Ages . In 1492, the Jews and Muslims who had come under Spanish rule through the conquest of the Emirate of Granada were expelled from Spain (→ anti-Semitism (until 1945) ).
Early modern age
Turda (German Thorenburg, Hungarian Torda) was the venue of the Transylvanian general assembly of the nobility during the Middle Ages, which took place under the chairmanship of an aristocrat appointed by the Hungarian king from the high nobility (Königr. Hungary, later Austria-Hungary). This assembly (universitas nobilium) and advisory body was responsible for the ultimate jurisdiction in what was then Transylvania . In 1568, when the Thorenburg Edict was issued in the Thorenburg state parliament, (restricted) religious freedom was legally established for the first time in Europe.
In the Augsburg Religious Peace the principle cuius regio, eius religio was codified, i.e. the principle that the subjects of a ruler had to belong to the ruler's religion. But there have always been reasons to allow individual subjects or certain groups to belong to a religion other than the ruling religion . Such a special religious freedom is to be distinguished from the general religious freedom for all religions and world views . Martin Luther's appearance before the Reichstag in Worms contributed to promoting the idea of freedom of conscience. However, Luther did not persevere with this attitude. B. the " Anabaptist " required. The Anabaptist groups of the Hutterites and Mennonites demanded freedom of conscience and freedom of religion for themselves, but were, for reasons of principle, unable to decide on freedom of religion for others, since they did not seek political power.
The Thirty Years' War was the climax of the wars of religion and led to a general shift in politics towards other national interests ( expansion and consolidation of territory , trade policy , science policy , language policy ).
Britain, Netherlands and USA
In 1533 the English King Henry VIII was excommunicated because of his divorce and the subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn ; then he founded a state church with bishops who were appointed by the crown. Thomas More was executed in 1535 for resisting Henry VIII.
The Baptists who emerged in the early 17th century not only demanded freedom of religion for themselves, but also granted it to others, for example in the Rhode Island colony founded in 1636 by the Baptist Roger Williams .
The English aristocratic son William Penn (1644-1718) was acquitted of having given a Quaker sermon (the jury was incarcerated for this acquittal; this had a long-lasting effect on future English and American laws on religious freedom). Pennsylvania Province, founded by Penn, was one of the first to grant full freedom of religion. It was because of the fame of Penn (or his father, Admiral William Penn ) more respected than Rhode Island.
In France, the Peace of Saint-Germain in 1570 (not to be confused with that of 1679) declared peace between Catholics and Protestants, but the persecutions continued. In 1572, thousands of Huguenots were murdered in Paris on Bartholomew's Night.
18th to 20th century
In the 18th century, religious policy was increasingly determined by the Enlightenment . The tolerant attitude of the Prussian King Friedrich II became famous : "All religions must be tolerated and the authorities only have to ensure that none of the others harms, because everyone here has to be saved according to his own style." In Virginia granted Thomas Jefferson's Religious Freedom Establishment Act since 1786, positive and negative religious freedom. The law was celebrated by German enlighteners; Paul Nolte calls it “the most famous declaration of religious freedom to date”.
With the law of November 27, 1790 , all clerics in France were required to take an oath to the constitution (see civil constitution of the clergy ); who refused to do so was severely punished until 1795 during the time of terror .
In 1905, France passed the law separating church and state .
German Confederation and German Empire
Between the Lutheran Bismarck and the Catholic Church under Pope Pius IX. From around 1871 to 1878 there was a church struggle , the Kulturkampf . Anti-modernism began in the Catholic Church at that time (it lost weight from 1910); in addition, many churches were very Vatican-centered ( ultramontanism ).
Roman Catholic Church since 1965
At the end of the Second Vatican Council , the Roman Catholic Church decided in 1965 with Dignitatis humanae (DH), a declaration in which religious freedom is recognized in the civil state system and a departure from the previous Catholic state doctrine is carried out. Although the final vote was very convincing with only 70 votes against and eight invalid votes, with 2308 votes in favor, the document was one of the most controversial at the Council and a vocal traditionalist minority, such as the Pius Brotherhood , has not come to terms with it to this day.
The Declaration of the Second Vatican Council on Religious Freedom does not pose the question of the truth of the respective contents of belief, but proclaims religious freedom as a right based on human dignity to practice religion privately and publicly in accordance with the demands of personal conscience. It is true that the declaration adheres to the possibility of knowing the truth as well as to the duty to seek it (DH 1); Religious freedom is not seen as competition for this, but should guide the use of the search for truth. In Lumen Gentium of November 1964, too , a society without religious freedom is rejected. The church's claim to religious exclusivity is not given up, however. This claim of the Roman Catholic Church in relation to non-Christian religions is dealt with in the declaration Nostra Aetate . A big step towards an interreligious dialogue was taken in the form of an inclusive understanding of salvation, which of course does not remain without contradictions .
Freedom of religion is a constitutionally guaranteed basic right in Germany , Austria and Switzerland . In the GDR , freedom of religion was formally anchored in the constitution , but Christians were also subject to various forms of repression.
→ See also:
- Freedom of religion in Germany ; Christians and Churches in the GDR
- Religious freedom in Austria
- Religious freedom in Switzerland
Many Islamic states see Sharia as the basis of their legal system. This knows no negative religious freedom for Muslims. Islamic law forbids coercion to convert Jews or Christians to Islam. However, it does not give a Muslim the freedom to choose a religion other than Islam or to become an atheist (see apostasy in Islam ). Because of these and other contradictions to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Organization of the Islamic Conference adopted the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam in 1990 . However, this declaration does not guarantee the individual religious freedom of choice. In contrast, the protection of an Islamic state religion often goes so far that even mission for other denominations can be forbidden and threatened with the death penalty.
In some Asian states, alliances of non-Muslim minorities have formed to work for more tolerant religious laws, for example the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance . In addition, there are individual modern Islamic thinkers such as Abdullah Saeed who try to prove the compatibility of Islam with the idea of religious freedom and reject the classic Sharia view of the need to punish apostasy.
In Poland , freedom of conscience and religion is anchored in Article 53, Paragraph 1. According to the legal definition in Art. 53, Paragraph 2, this concerns the right to accept and practice a religion and to own religious institutions. According to Article 53, Paragraph 6, no one may be compelled to practice religion. However, negative religious freedom in the sense of the right not to belong to any church is not stipulated in the constitution. Although the “Law on Guaranteeing Freedom of Conscience and Religious Freedom” includes the right to religious freedom, the possibility of leaving the Roman Catholic Church is regularly denied by the Supreme Administrative Court and its regulation or prohibition is viewed as an internal church matter. The plaintiffs are denied the possibility of a constitutional complaint.
Although, on the one hand, the equality of all citizens regardless of their religion or worldview is a constitutional right, non-religious ideological communities are not on an equal footing with the churches. In March 2013, the registration application of the “ Polish Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ” was rejected by the Ministry of Public Administration and Digitization, on the grounds that the church was not founded for the purpose of communal religious belief and proselytizing, but rather to criticize religion.
Religious freedom is also constitutionally guaranteed in the United States.
In the Russian Federation, the law to combat extremist activities is also abused against peaceful, globally recognized religious communities. In 2015, the UN Human Rights Committee reiterated its previous recommendation to Russia to “revise the law to combat extremist activities immediately and, in particular, clarify the unclear and open definition of 'extremist activities' by ensuring that the definition includes elements of violence or hatred as necessary and by establishing clear, well-defined criteria for assessing whether material is extremist. It should take all necessary steps to prevent the misuse of the law and revise the official list of extremist materials ”
On March 15, 2017, the Russian Ministry of Justice applied to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to declare the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia extremist and disband them. The application also requests that the headquarters be banned. If the Supreme Court upholds this request, the headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses near Saint Petersburg will be closed. Subsequently, around 400 registered local legal entities would be dissolved and the services of over 2,300 Jehovah's Witnesses congregations in Russia would be made illegal. Branch property and places of worship used by Jehovah's Witnesses nationwide could be confiscated by the state. In addition, individual Jehovah's Witnesses would make themselves liable to prosecution simply by practicing their faith. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the application on April 5th.
On June 10, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the dissolution of the legal entity of Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow / Russia was a violation of Articles 9 and 11 of human rights. Despite this verdict, Jehovah's Witnesses were not re-registered in Moscow until May 27, 2015 - five years after the verdict.
In certain states a religion forms the respective state religion (also called "official religion") and is preferred by the state. In certain cases this is associated with the suppression of other religions or worldviews.
Separation of religion and state
In certain countries, the religious neutrality of the state is designed as a legal separation of state and religion. France goes particularly far in this separation .
Some critics of religion see in the religious upbringing or the decision of the parents about the religious affiliation and religious practice of their underage children by means of child baptism , confirmation , child blessing and similar rituals an undermining of the religious freedom that is actually sought. This is only given to a limited extent in the sense of freedom of conversion or freedom to exit after an entry that has not been freely chosen, since the oath on religion has basically already been removed. Due to the diverse dependency of children on their parents, not only in matters of religious affiliation, this is usually of little importance for religious freedom.
Examples of negative freedom of religion and belief
The neutrality of the state in the area of negative freedom of religion and belief, i.e. the protection of the individual from proselytizing by the state, from individuals in state institutions or from private organizations on state property, is limited by the implementation of other basic rights. The reason for this is that generally useful organizations and their ideological organization of the public, such as at festivals or demonstrations, for practical reasons are dependent on an urban street or the marketplace. Here the state responds to the need to implement freedom of assembly and accepts that people with a different opinion can be exposed to the religious or non-religious views of a rally in the marketplace. A state forced mission does not exist here because the state is not the organizer of the rally and because the other marketplace visitors can freely turn to or away from the rally.
Lectures by lecturers at state universities and sermons in the pulpits in state churches are partly scientific and partly ideological. The state renounces the enforcement of strict ideological neutrality in favor of freedom of expression , freedom of science , freedom of conscience, freedom of belief, freedom of religion and the right of an institution to self-determination . The sale of ideologically or religiously relevant journals and books at the station - kiosks by the State due to the press freedom tolerated, sticking of posters due to the economic freedom . A strict ideological neutralization of state institutions and spaces would run counter to both human rights and the right to self-determination of the operational state administration.
The extent of the negative religious freedom is viewed inconsistently: While the then Federal Minister of the Interior Otto Schily said that "... as we understand it ... also includes the possibility of claiming that all of Islam is a mistake", the publicist Patrick Bahners sees the "special term of negative religious freedom actually [as] done", since the "right to defend freedom to not confess" presupposes the attempt of coercion. In contrast, the constitutional and canon lawyer Martin Heckel points out that the exercise of positive religious freedom at the same time includes an exercise of "negative religious freedom in relation to all other religions and world views".
Many devout believers argue that compulsory schooling restricts their children's religious freedom because schools do not adequately protect them from “pernicious influences” that undermine their beliefs and religious upbringing by their parents. In 2010, a family from Germany received political asylum in the USA on the grounds that they had been politically persecuted by German authorities who refused to homeschool .
A special case is circumcision (circumcision) for religious reasons. In Judaism she is called Brit Mila ; usually newborn boys are circumcised on the eighth day after birth. The Koran does not specifically mention them; nevertheless it is widespread as Sunna in many Islamic countries . It is often performed in childhood.
In Germany, circumcision for religious reasons has been widely discussed since a regional court ruling in 2012.
Headscarf ban and requirement, burqa ban
In various states, critics see religious freedom restricted by regulations that prohibit the wearing of the headscarf in state institutions or require it in public.
- Wearing a burqa is prohibited in some European countries . In France , a law that came into force in 2004 bans the wearing of visible religious signs such as kippah, headscarf and habit in schools.
- In Turkey , all public employees such as civil servants, teachers and students were prohibited from wearing a headscarf in authorities, schools and universities until 2010. In this regard, the European Court of Human Rights protected a decision that banned a student wearing a headscarf from entering a public university. In February 2006, the ban was extended to the streets in front of the relevant government agencies. After bitter domestic political disputes, the AKP government lifted the ban in universities in 2010 and the ban on civil servants (except judges) in 2013.
- In Iran and Saudi Arabia , all women are obliged to wear the headscarf in public.
Religiously based ritual slaughter in the form of slaughtering carried out without prior stunning is prohibited in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Liechtenstein and soon also in the Netherlands in whole or in part due to the Animal Welfare Act . In Germany, however, special permits are granted.
More information on the legal situation in the individual countries can be found under Schächten, section Legal situation .
The term minaret controversy became known, the question is whether the construction of an Islamic place of worship (mosques and the like) with minarets (the towers, from which the muezzin calls to prayer) is a matter of public practice of religion, or undue harassment of others (usually the long-established religious cultures).
Organizations committed to religious freedom
Various organizations are committed to protecting religious freedom, such as:
- Human Rights Watch : A non-governmental human rights organization that focuses primarily on research and high-profile reporting of human rights violations.
- Americans United for the Separation of Church and State : an American organization of non-denominational and denominational people who work together for positive and negative religious freedom.
- In the International Union of Non- Denominational and Atheists ( IBKA ) non-religious people have come together to enforce general human rights - in particular freedom of belief - and the consistent separation of state and religion. He advocates individual self-determination, wants to promote rational thinking and educate people about the social role of religion.
- missio : A catholic relief organization that supports oppressed and persecuted Christians worldwide. missio publishes its own human rights studies.
- Forum 18 : A Christian Norwegian organization with the aim of establishing religious freedom.
- Open Doors : A Christian aid organization close to the Evangelical Alliance , which works for Christians who are disadvantaged and persecuted because of their faith. A world persecution index is published annually, listing the countries where Christians are most severely persecuted. Open Doors is criticized because it also pursues an active mission.
- Church in Need : A worldwide Catholic aid organization that has been helping persecuted and oppressed Christians for over sixty years. Every year there is an annual report on the hot spots of aid. Every two years a report on religious freedom is published in every country on earth.
- Baptist World Alliance : Freedom of religion, belief and conscience has been one of the demands of the Baptist movement since 1612 . One of its co-founders, Thomas Helwys , received a prison sentence for his A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity, addressed to King James I , and he did not survive. The Baptist World Federation is still vehemently advocating freedom of religion and conscience.
- Central Council of Ex-Muslims : The council represents people who come from an Islamic country or who were formerly Muslims.
- The Working Group Religious Freedom Worldwide in the German Section of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR): According to its own statements, it helps “victims of violence due to abuse of religion as well as due to state violence against members of unwanted religious denominations / churches”.
- Volker von Prittwitz (2002) Manorial or Civil Religion? Fundamentalism, religious freedom and the responsibility of the civil state , in: Supplement to The Parliament
- Heiner Bielefeldt : Dispute over religious freedom (2012, 61 pages) (PDF; 683 kB)
- Miner Searle Bates: Freedom of Belief. An investigation (= Religious Liberty ). Church World Service, New York 1947 (translated by Richard Honig).
- Heiner Bielefeldt , Volkmar Deile, Brigitte Hamm, Franz-Josef Hutter, Sabine Kurtenbach and Hanns Tretter (eds.): Religious freedom . Böhlau, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-205-78190-5 (= Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights (Ed.): Yearbook Human Rights , 2009).
- Karl Gabriel , Christian Spieß, Katja Winkler (eds.): Religious freedom and pluralism. Lines of development of a Catholic learning process , Schöningh, Paderborn u. a. 2010, ISBN 978-3-506-76933-6 (= Catholicism between religious freedom and violence , volume 1).
- Andrea Morigi (Red.): Religious freedom worldwide. Report 2008. Kirche in Not , Königstein 2008 (without ISBN).
- Holger Scheel: Religious freedom from the perspective of international law, Islamic and Egyptian law . Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-12415-2 .
- Christine Schirrmacher : "There is no compulsion in religion" (Sura 2: 256): The apostasy from Islam in the judgment of contemporary Islamic theologians. Discourses on apostasy, religious freedom and human rights. Ergon, Würzburg, 2015.
- Klaus Vellguth: Religious freedom: A right lives with and through its conflicts. In: Klaus Krämer, Klaus Vellguth (Ed.): Religious Freiheit. Basics - reflections - models. (ThEW 5), Freiburg 2014, pp. 363-380.
- Klaus Vellguth, joy and sorrow, hope and fear. Global Challenges of the Catholic Church, in: Academic Monthly Sheets 128 (2016) 2, 38–47.
- Quirin Weber, Framework for a Peaceful Coexistence of Religions in Switzerland, in: Zeitschrift für Evangelisches Kirchenrecht 60 (2015), 409–419 (Mohr Siebeck).
- Wolfgang Wüst: Heavenly Conditions? Tax and religious freedom as a stately lure for resettlers and new settlers in early modern times and modern times - Blissful conditions? Tax and religious freedom as enticement of the monarchs given to immigrants and settlers at the dawn of the early modern period - Rajkie warunki? Wolność podatkowa I religijna jako przynęta władców dla przesiedleńców i osadników w epoce wczesnonowożytnej iu progu nowoczesności , in: Bulletin of the Polish Historical Mission / Biuletyn Polskiej Misji Historycznej 13 (2018) Toruń 2018 S. 55-86, ISBN 83-231-1700- 1 .
- Reinhold Zippelius: freedom of belief and conscience. In: Law and Justice in the Open Society. 2nd edition, Duncker and Humblot, Berlin 1996, chap. 25, ISBN 3-428-08661-9 .
- Freedom of belief and religion from a European perspective since 1948 - with regard to the current situation in Austria. ( Memento from April 14, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Paper for the seminar The idea of human rights in an intercultural perspective , Franz Martin Wimmer, WS 2001/02 (pdf, on sammelpunkt.philo.at).
- General Comment No. 22: The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (Art. 18)
- A common name for this agreement is also the Edict of Tolerance of Milan (or Edict of Milan, etc.), which is factually incorrect.
- Later the Baptists were influenced by the Mennonites.
- z. B. Justus Nipperdey : The Invention of Population Policy: State, Political Theory and Population in the Early Modern Age. Göttingen 2012, p. 183 ff.
- z. B. Irmgard Hantsche (ed.): Johann Moritz von Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679) as a mediator. Verlag Waxmann, 2005, p. 118
- His older brother inherited the title of nobility
- See portal.state.pa.us (English)
- M. Lehmann: Prussia and the Catholic Church since 1640. According to the acts of the Secret State Archive. 2nd part. 1740-1747. Leipzig 1881, p. 4. Quoted from Hartmut Weyel: Evangelical and free. History of the Federation of Free Protestant Congregations in Germany. SCM Bundes-Verlag, Witten 2013, ISBN 978-3-86258-020-0 , p. 1.
- Thomas E. Buckley: Establishing religious freedom . Jefferson's statute in Virginia. University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville 2013, ISBN 978-0-8139-3503-4 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed November 2, 2015]).
- Volker Depkat: Applied Enlightenment? The world effect of the Enlightenment in colonial British North America and the USA. In: Wolfgang Hardtwig (Ed.): The Enlightenment and its world effect . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-525-36423-9 , pp. 205–241 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed November 6, 2015]).
- Paul Nolte : What is Democracy? History and present. CH Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63028-6 , p. 145 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed November 6, 2015]).
- Karl Gabriel, Christian Spieß, Katja Winkler: The recognition of religious freedom at the Second Vatican Council. Texts for the interpretation of a learning process , Paderborn 2013.
- Cf. Jérome Hamer: History of the text of the declaration , in: Jérome Hamer, Yves Congar (Ed.): The Council Declaration on Religious Freedom , Paderborn 1967.
- Wolfgang Seibel : From tolerance to religious freedom , in: Voices of the time 2/1995, pp. 73-74
- Konrad Hilpert : The recognition of religious freedom , in: Voices of the time 12/2005, pp. 809–819, 810f
- Dignitatis humanae, No. 1
- Rahner , Vorgrimler : Small Council Compendium . Freiburg i. Br. 1966, 349-359
- See e.g. B. Saskia Wendel : Beyond absoluteness and arbitrariness or: On the possibility of taking a Christian standpoint in pluralism. In: theophil-online.de ( Memento from February 12, 2013 in the web archive archive.today )
- United States Commission on International Religious Freedom - Annual Report 2013. Washington, April 2013
- The European countries are mentioned in the USCIRF report in particular with regard to anti-Semitic incidents, but also to the state assessment of sects. Report 2013, section Societal intolerance, discrimination, an violence based on religion or belief , p. 286 ff. (Pdf p. 292 ff).
- See Schirrmacher: "There is no compulsion in religion" . 2015, pp. 251-348.
- Constitution of the Republic of Poland. In: sejm.gov.pl. April 2, 1997, accessed on April 8, 2013 : “Art 53 (1) freedom of conscience and religion is guaranteed to everyone. (2) Religious freedom includes the freedom to accept or profess one's own religion, as well as the freedom to practice one's own religion individually or with other persons, publicly or privately, by showing worship, prayer, and participating in religious acts, practices and teaching express. "
- Ustawa z dnia 17 maja 1989 r. o gwarancjach wolności sumienia i wyznania. In: sejm.gov.pl. May 17, 1989, accessed on April 8, 2013 (Polish): “Art. 2. Korzystając z wolności sumienia i wyznania obywatele mogą w szczególności: […] 2a) należeć or nie należeć do kościołów i innych związków wyznaniowych. German translation: Art. 2. By exercising freedom of conscience and religion, citizens can in particular: […] 2a) belong or do not belong to churches and other religious communities "
- II SA / Wa 2026/11 - Wyrok ESC w Warszawie. January 11, 2012, accessed April 8, 2013 (Polish).
- II SA / Wa 2767/11 - Wyrok WSA w Warszawie. May 7, 2012, Retrieved April 8, 2013 (Polish).
- Michał Boni : Decyzja. (PDF; 1.9 MB) March 15, 2013, accessed April 8, 2013 (Polish).
- (UN Human Rights Committee: Concluding Observations on the Seventh Periodic Report of the Russian Federation. CCPR / C / RUS / CO / 7, April 28, 2015, paragraph 20).
- Jehovah's Witnesses activate worldwide reaction to impending ban in Russia. March 22, 2017. Retrieved March 22, 2017 .
- Vatican Radio: Russia: Jehovah's Witnesses should be banned. March 18, 2017, archived from the original on March 19, 2017 ; accessed on March 22, 2017 .
- Uni Trier: ECHR: DECISIONS ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM / CHURCH. Retrieved March 22, 2017 .
- Ministry of Justice registers Jehovah's Witnesses in Moscow. June 3, 2015, accessed July 22, 2017 .
- Stefan Muckel Walter de Gruyter: Decisions in church matters - 1.1 . – 30.6.2010 . Ed .: The Institute for Canon Law and the History of Rhenish Canon Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Cologne. January 1, 2014, p. 326-371 .
- Joel Feinberg: "The child's right to an open future." In: John Howie: "Ethical principles for social policy." Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale / Edwardsville, 1984, ISBN 0-8093-1063-5 , pp. 97-122
- Claudia Mills: "The Child's Right to an Open Future?" In: "Journal of social philosophy." 34, 4, 2003, , pp. 499-509
- Ueli Friederich: Churches and religious communities in the pluralistic state. On the importance of religious freedom in Swiss state church law. (= Treatises on Swiss Law, Issue 546). (Zugl .: Bern, Univ. , Diss., 1991) Stämpfli, Bern 1993, ISBN 3-7272-0190-8 , p. 113 f.
- fight against terror: "Who loves death can have it" , Spiegel-Online, June 29, 2004
- Patrick Bahners: The alarmists. The German fear of Islam. A pamphlet , Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-61645-7 , p. 96
- Martin Heckel: Theses on the State-Church Relationship in Cultural Constitutional Law , in: Gesammelte Schriften , Volume V, 2004, pp. 647-674 (p. 653)
- Lukas Dubro: Germans receive US asylum , taz.de January 27, 2010
- Open letter on circumcision - “Religious freedom cannot be a license for violence” , faz.net
- Ministry for Rural Areas and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg: Issuing special permits ( Memento from January 30, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 26 kB)
- Information on the situation of human rights in the missio partner countries in the series “Human Rights” with country studies, thematic studies and the results of specialist conferences ( Memento of May 3, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), missio-website
- About BWA ( Memento from January 25, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), BWA website, accessed on January 26, 2009.
- Baptists underline the right to religious freedom ( Memento from September 12, 2012 in the web archive archive.today ) In: Die Gemeinde. January 7, 2009. Retrieved January 27, 2009.
- About us , Working Group Religious Freedom Worldwide in the German Section of the International Society for Human Rights.