PLEDGE OF SUPPORT FOR FREEDOM OF SPIRITUAL BELIEF (THE
SPIRITUAL FREEDOM PLEDGE): PART 1
The following pledge was written by a Buddhist and a Christian.
It is suitable for personal or group use. A hard copy suitable for framing
might be available in the future.
PLEDGE OF SUPPORT FOR FREEDOM OF SPIRITUAL BELIEF (THE
SPIRITUAL FREEDOM PLEDGE)
Recognizing that the search for answers to the questions of
life has led humanity down diverse spiritual paths;
Recognizing that human beings have an inalienable right to cherish and maintain their
Recognizing that truth may be expressed and experienced through diverse spiritual beliefs;
We, the undersigned, do hereby pledge to respect the right of all members of the human
family to believe and practice the spiritual belief, faith or religion of their choice,
We further pledge our support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(passed without dissenting vote by the United Nations on 10 December 1948) and especially
for Article 18:
"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and
freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest
his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
We, the undersigned, do hereby pledge to encourage others to read, sign, and live up to
this pledge in order to help establish a new era of respect for human spirituality around
Invitation to Respond
We invite you to send us your thoughts
on this pledge:
|why you think such a pledge is important?|
|what does religious freedom mean to you?|
|how you can contribute to spiritual freedom and tolerance in your locality, etc.|
We will post your response below, (unless you ask us not to), along with your
initials (so you can find it).
The most recent responses are at the top of the list. We publish the Emails
from our readers without change, unless noted, except for passing them through our spell
|From P.C., 2001-MAR-24|
This pledge is very nice at face value, but it doesn't address the
fact that billions of people are the victims of innumerable forms of
religious dominance and are unwilling or unable to voluntarily move
beyond the dogmatic belief systems that hold them under the power of
religious "authority" figures. Spiritual dominance over others
is one of the oldest mechanisms in human society because it provides the
dominator with authority, power, wealth and celebrity. Those of us who
are stuck under the thumbs of such figures are often blind to their own
subtle entrapment. When humanity gently, firmly and knowingly rejects
the popes, lamas, priests, rabbis, ayatollahs, monks, gurus and
charismatics; when we see beyond question that there can be no authority
over us in matters of spirit and religion; when we have removed our
support from their empires of power and dominance us; when religion is
known only as the reality of inward resonance with the Divine and is
nothing of organisation, missions, money or doctrine - know only then
that humanity has reached a truly remarkable level in evolution that may
|From J.W., 1999-SEP-16|
"I think that we as Christians primarily, have a very naive
are maybe even opted for, idea of what is ultimately right and wrong. What
makes the religion that we were taught and because of that, accept, more
superior to anyone else's? We only readily accept God how He is first
represented to us be it as Jesus Christ, Jah, Allah, or Jehovah. GOD is ever
present and ever constant. GOD is LOVE. LOVE is ALL THAT MATTERS."
|From H.K., 1999-MAY-26|
"I was struck by the comments of some readers who seem to understand that
this site (and this pledge) promotes the belief and practice of religion. That is,
the religious person as superior to the non-believer, and a religious society as superior
to one that is not."
"Surely tolerance includes respect for those without religion."
|From: C.C., 1999-MAR-13|
"I enthusiastically support your Freedom on Spirituality Pledge. Every
Citizen should have the right to worship to the extent that their conscience mind allows.
Freedom of thought is necessary in a civilized society to foster creativity and
|From: Z.F., 1998-DEC-11|
"I can only hope and pray that each of us in our own way will be able to
practice the worship of a higher spiritual power without interference from governments or
moral busybodies who sometimes believe that they know what is good for us or what is bad
I believe that my form of worship is right. That does not mean that I impose
what is right for me on another human being. It, also, means that I refuse to dehumanize
by belittling another's belief system -as long as it doesn't injure or enslave
|From: C., 1998-NOV-1|
"I was raised a Unitarian, so I spent 13 years doing a comparative
religion study--from the Creation stories of various peoples through the Egyptians, Jews,
Christians, and also the Eastern religions. I cannot imagine being a
civilized person and not being tolerant of the religions of others. In Singapore, the
school children are taught the religions of every group in their country. This works. The
people of Trinidad are very pleased that their country celebrates the main religious
holidays of the Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. They have the most national
holidays of any country!!
Kidnapping, killing, and ostracism due to religious beliefs are completely unacceptable to
me. Thank you for putting this pledge on the net. I completely support it."
|From: T.C., 1998-OCT-12|
"It is my viewpoint that the common denominator of religions is the
underlying adherence to a set of tenets which lead to a higher level of ethical and moral
behaviour. The following of these tenets creates an
agreement by the members of that religion, which results proportionately in a higher level
of living in the society.
The lack of tolerance of individuals' religions threatens to break down the strength of
religion in society, thus breaking down one's ability to have an ethical and moral
environment in which to live. The results of this could be catastrophic.
I feel quite strongly about my own religion, and would spit on those who would threaten to
take it from me, as this would be a threat to take away who I am, and my ability to make a
difference for others while I am here."
|From: C.F., 1998-OCT-1 (Personal details omitted)|
"I am a solitary practitioner of The Craft. Since completely coming
out of the broom closet I have encountered several negative responses towards the old
earth based religions. One woman at work told people not to get too friendly with me
because I practice witchcraft. What many people don't understand is that our belief system
is that of the three fold law. Whatever you put into life you get back "times
three"...However, I have never been more aware of what I say and do since my practice
in The Craft. I guess what I'm trying to say is that everyone should realize that there is
not only one truth, there are many truths. You just need to find that which is right for
you and, people should live and let live. We should come to the understanding that as
different as people are in appearance, so it is the same with religion. I love all
religions and have studied a wide range of them before coming to this path."
|From: C.F., 1998-SEP-19|
"The pledge is a vital document, and this site gives us all an
for distribution of it to all of our on-line friends, which of course I will
do. Thank you for presenting it, and to the others who have written their own
accounts and beliefs on this subject. I don't believe that I could elaborate
much on what has already been said here. But I just wanted to write this to
offer my support as well. The pledge and this feedback has helped to broaden
my awareness of the need to stretch out beyond my own local concerns and take
some action, even if it is just spreading this word around."
|From B.H., 1998-SEP-17|
"The "Us vs. Them" mentality of religious intolerance has
been the cause of terrible bloodshed over thousands of years. How many more lives will be
lost? Unfortunately there are those who, in studying their religions, interpret their
texts as being THE one. If God is so loving, how could He pick one religion over another?
No, to those who say "Mine is the one" I reply: We are each born with a Divine
spark inside us and no one is any better than the other. There are no
"chosen" - we ALL are chosen to be here and do the work of love for all mankind
! I like to use the "mountain" analogy: God (or any of the thousands of names)
is the Light at the top of the mountain. We are all trying to get there. Some of us go
straight up; others zig zag, while still others may go at right angles to reach the
summit. We all have the same goal but a different way of getting there... just a different
There is beauty in every religious tradition. Who has not been reduced to tears by a
hymn, a ceremony, sermon, reading or tradition or rite of passage? I was raised
Protestant, introduced to the ways of the Muslim faith by travel in the Middle East. I
married into Judaism and now, many years later, embrace "a little of a lot" of
world religions in my religious practice: Christianity, Buddhism, Native American,
Judaism. Basically - whatever strikes me in my soul is what I use. We are all the same
species and we must stop looking at other religions and cultures different than ours as
something to be feared and condemned.
Thank you for your Spiritual Freedom Pledge and the message it sends. This web site is
a valuable reference point. Blessings to all, both the facilitators of the site and those
|From N.Z., 1998-SEP-8|
"It is important that people treat others with civility regardless of
differences in religion, as well as other differences such as ethnicity.
One of God's greatest gifts to us is that of free will. He respects that,
and allows us to make good and bad choices. Choosing the good would have
no meaning if we had no choice. So we are also to respect others'
choices, whether we agree with them or not, or think they are good or bad
choices. We might not be happy with the choice, since we have a right to
our own opinion and speech and choice as well, but we should be civil.
We should practice the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you'd have them do
There are some things that are neither good nor bad. For instance, if
someone dislikes another's ethnicity, that is simply prejudice (and
ethnicity is generally not even a choice). In the realm of religion,
however, there are many choices that can be made. We often see 'religious
wars' such as the conflicts in Northern Ireland or Kosovo. Religious
tolerance would help to partially defuse such conflicts, though much of it
actually is due to nationalistic and other reasons which are cloaked in a
religious veneer to give the impression that 'God is on our side'. "
|From C.A., 1998-AUG-25|
"I firmly believe that Freedom of Religion is a crucial matter.
I am a Scientologist and I have witnessed a lot of hostility towards my religion and that
of others. I recently went to Frankfurt and last year, in October, I went to Berlin to
march for these rights.
I learned of many serious violations by the German government. This concerns us all. Let
us not allow Hitler's fascist regime come down upon the world again.
We are all spiritual beings, regardless of color, creed or appearance. Let us respect one
another for what we are, and for what we believe in, for we all -- except the truly
degraded -- believe that man is basically good, and that religion is a step in that
All men of goodwill wish others to fare well and prosper. All men of goodwill respect
Freedom of Religion.
Let us all help each other to become all men of goodwill.
L. Ron Hubbard once said something to the effect of: When men can fully trust each other,
there will be peace on Earth."
|From C.A., 1998-AUG-25|
"I am American and my wife is Japanese. We are both members of the
Reverend Sun Myung Moons Unification church. Recently my wife returned to Japan. On
May 15 she was kidnapped and confined by fanatics opposed to our religious faith. For
seventy -two days she endured physical and mental abuse, slander, threat and other such
persecutions from a deprogramming minister. On July 26, by the grace of God and the
strength of His love, my wife escaped. She jumped from a second floor balcony. Even though
she fractured her thigh and broke her wrist when she hit the ground, she got up and
managed to run a quarter mile to a nearby road. There she stopped a passing car and the
driver brought her to safety. Now my wife is free and we are together in a safe place.
Despite the ordeal her faith remains unchanged.
The experience heightened our awareness to the plight of persecuted believers worldwide. .
In the words of our Secretary of State Madeline Albright, 'the struggle for religious
liberty does not end where our own personal freedom is assured.' As an American, this was
a very important realization for me. Religious liberty is a right to be shared by all
people. As an American, I took the gift of religious liberty for granted. My wifes
case awakened me to the problems abroad. I assumed the world had what I had. I did not
understand Americas important role in Gods providence. Reverend Moon, the
founder of our church, teaches 'God blessed America for the sake of the world'. Where I
was content living in 'one nation under God', now I understand God desire is much greater.
One world under God is the goal of history. Religious freedom is a blessing God expects me
to convey to others.
Therefore with honor my wife and I commit to uphold the tenets of the spiritual freedom
pledge and we applaud all others who have done the same.
|From T.B., 1998-AUG-11|
"Preserving and expanding religious freedom is vital for the advance
of culture and civilization. No matter what the faith -- and no matter if that faith is
embraced by millions or by a single individual -- religious belief and practice represent
the certainty that the spiritual essence of life can be known and, with it, the
establishment of ethical and moral standards necessary to bring this world through to a
higher, improved state of existence."
|From S.Y., 1998-AUG-4|
"I support your pledge, I have always believed that everyone has the
God given right to choose their own spiritual belief without interference. There are many
paths to the one source."
|From T.G., 1998-AUG-2|
"I think considering the amount of tragedy and misery that has
occurred on this planet because of religious intolerance that this pledge is mightily
important. It should be read by everyone. I wholeheartedly agree with its tenets and
support everyone involved."
|From M,W,, 1998-JUL-8|
"Here's to a world where no black man is ever again dragged behind a
truck, no Jewish youths decide a Palestinian farmer deserves a smack in the head from a
plank of wood they're holding from inside a moving van, Catholics and Protestants lay down
their guns and their slurs. Here's to that world. We should take this pledge. We should
live this pledge. Let the people around each of us see that tolerance means a great deal
to us...it means life itself."
Last update: 2001-MAR-24