not for Christians, anyway.
http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=90878 Tolerance Linked to Allowing Religion's Public Role
Holy See Addresses Conference Held in Kazakhstan
ALMATY, Kazakhstan, JUNE 13, 2006 (Zenit.org).- There can be no religious tolerance if there is not appreciation for both the private and public role of religion, says the Holy See. Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, head of a Holy See delegation to a conference on tolerance, made that point at the event promoted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation of Europe (OSCE).
"No partnership among cultures, religions and ethnicities can be established in mutual ignorance," insisted the archbishop, who is also apostolic nuncio to Kazakhstan. The meeting in Almaty, held Monday and today, sought to "Promote Intercultural, Interreligious and Interethnic Understanding."
"Creating a partnership requires dialogue," Archbishop Wesolowski told the gathering. "However, dialogue is only the first step, which should lead to identifying a common and 'solid' ground upon which a lasting partnership can be established."
"What should make up this common 'ground'?" the Polish-born prelate asked the representatives of the 55 states that make up the OSCE.
"It is necessary that this common ground consist of respect and appreciation for different cultures and religions," he answered.
Archbishop Wesolowski, 57, deplored that today "religions are too often manipulated or even misunderstood as part of the problem, when in fact they are and should be considered part of the solution to problems that exist between different cultures and civilizations."
"Interreligious dialogue will be unable to favor greater respect and unity in civic and political life if the public role of religion is not duly recognized," he contended. "If religion is relegated only to the private sphere, then it is denied its ability to have a positive impact on society."
In this connection, the prelate made reference to the numerous cases of belittling of
religion and culture, manifested especially in the media.
The papal representative then illustrated the relationship between freedom of expression and the right not to be offended in one's religious sentiments, a fundamental element of religious freedom.
"If in the name of an incorrect interpretation of freedom of expression," Archbishop Wesolowski said, "member states were to allow the religious sentiments of individuals or entire communities to be offended, the same states would not only be unable to effectively contribute to dialogue among different religions, cultures and ethnic groups, but they would also risk prejudicing it."
He added: "Respect and protection of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion should be guaranteed, aiming at a careful balance and at safeguarding the exercise of both."