Thanks to several Danish cartoons, appraisals and examinations of freedom of speech have swamped editorials and opinion columns in western media.
But what about freedom of conscience?
Vatican abortion treaty brings down government
Saturday February 11, 2006
The Vatican has inadvertently triggered the collapse of the government in Slovakia, one of the economic stars of the 10 entrants to the EU, in a row over abortion rights.
The parliament in Bratislava voted on Thursday to hold elections early, on June 17, after Christian Democrats quit Mikulas Dzurinda's centre-right minority coalition government.
The party is angry with the prime minister after he refused to endorse a draft treaty with the Vatican that would have allowed healthcare workers in hospitals founded by the Catholic church to refuse to carry out abortions on conscience grounds. http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,1707579,00.html
“This agreement [“Treaty between the Republic of Slovakia and the Holy See on the Right to Exercise Conscientious Objection”] would protect the right of all to exercise conscientious objection in relation to universal values, the group said.
Thus a Catholic doctor would have the right to refuse to participate in objectionable practices such as abortions, assisted procreation, experimentation with human embryos, euthanasia and sterilization”
Paul Belien, editor of Brusselsjournal.com shrewdly remarked:
“Two clashes of civilization are currently taking place in Europe. Freedom-loving people having to fight on two fronts. One involves the radical segment of the immigrant Muslim population that opposes basic Western values such as freedom of speech and that is intent on imposing Islamic taboos (such as the mere fact of depicting their prophet Muhammad) on the non-Islamic population. The other involves radical secularists that want to eradicate all remnants of traditional Christian culture from post-Christian Europe by restricting the right to conscientious objection on the part of religious people.”
According to the EU “Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights” doctors should sometimes be forced to perform abortions, even if they have conscientious objections, because the right to abort a child is an “international human right,” while the right to conscientious objection is not “unlimited.”
For further reading here is a link to the EU document regarding, “the Right to Conscientious objection and the conclusion by EU member states of concordats with the Holy See”.
As Europe stands together in solidarity proclaiming ‘Freedom of Speech’ through provocative publications and republications must it not also look inwards to the bludgeoning of its own freedoms?
Should the priority be to champion the freedom of provocative actions or passive objections?