Cuius regio, eius religio?

The discussion on ritual circumcision makes one thing very clear. What are the boundaries of religious freedom? Do parents have the religious freedom to impose their religion on their children? If yes, do grandparents have the religious freedom to impose their religion on their children and grandchildren? Do the chiefs of clans and tribes have the religious freedom to impose their religion on their clansmen and tribesmen? Do kings have the religious freedom to impose their religion on their subjects? If so, the old adage “Cuius regio, eius religio” holds true. But, can we ask, doesn’t have God the right to impose the religion of His choice on His creatures? Do ordinary humans have the right to impose the religion of their choice on other people, is that part of their religious freedom?

On the other hand, if no, then children cannot be raised in any religion. This begs the question, is secularism a religion, is pluralism a religion, is religious freedom itself a religion?

3 thoughts on “Cuius regio, eius religio?

  1. This is something I struggle with. I believe that people should have freedom of religion. To me that means the freedom to believe whatever you chose, and practice that religion in whatever way is appropriate…as long as it does not harm others.

    The issue is what harm is. To me harm is physical, mental, emotional, as well as active. For instance, if a Muslim comes up to me (a women) and berates me for not covering my face, I would view that as harm. BUT if I am surrounded by Muslim women, who say nothing to me, who are covering their faces that is not harm that is a person carrying out their religion as they see fit. (There are issues with a religion which “requires” a person to indoctrinate others, but I don’t feel like getting in to that!)

    I am currently struggling with the question of parents raising their children. I feel like religious freedom has to allow for the passing on of the religious tradition, but I think that this should not be in any physically permanent way. In Judaism, for example, I think that people should be allowed to raise their children Jewish and teach them about the world through that lens BUT the child should not be circumcised as this is a permanent, irreversible change.

    You raise an interesting point about secularism being a religion, and it is a difficult line to draw, but if we allow parents to raise their children in whatever religion they choose then I think the country should be secular so as to allow the child access to multiple approaches. What is important is allowing children (and people in general) to think for themselves, and indoctrination into one belief system through family, friends, and country makes it a lot more difficult to encourage free-thinking.

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