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European Values – Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion


The ECHR contains important values for the whole Europe. If one thinks backwards, about the time, when the ECHR was composed – Europe had just emerged from the war – the European leaders wished to create a system, which would prevent such a war from happening again. They thought that the ECHR could be a guarantee for that. While composing the ECHR, they rested upon traditional values of the Western liberal societies. Basing greatly on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, consisting codification of the ideology of liberal societies, the ECHR reflects the values of liberal democracy. 


Although under three separate names, freedom of thought, conscience and religion are frequently viewed together, and one can find all of them together in Article 9 of the ECHR


“1 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 worship, teaching, practice and observance“.


Wikipedia: Glass paintings in the Church of Holy Spirit in Tallinn

Wikipedia: Glass paintings in the Church of Holy Spirit in Tallinn

Article 9 of the ECHR says nothing about limitation of those freedoms, except limiting m a n i f e s t a t i o n  of them. What means that those freedoms are mostly exercised inside a person’s mind.


Looking at the windows in the churches, some of which are covered with glass paintings, I once thought that the same (not clear) way as we see the outside world from a church through the painted glass, do we see the everyday world through the veil that is subconsciously or consciously “painted” by others.


FOLLOW – Actually I had that thought at Tallinn Jaani Church, during Pastor Toomas Paul’s sermon. But unfortunately I could not find a good picture of the window in Jaani Church.

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