I’m free if you’re free

A letter in today’s Weekend Australian from one Ron Spielman reacts to Cardinal Pell’s comments about Brennan Report on a proposed Bill of Rights thus:

“I wonder whether Pell, in arguing for the protection of “religious freedom”, will allow “freedom from the religious freedom of others”

I would have thought that if a freedom is indeed a true human right, it is our obligation to act to protect those freedoms at all costs. In fact, if you and I are both citizens of the same state, I cannot be truly free if you are not truly free.

This is an aspect of freedom about which Joseph Ratzinger has written often (in fact, too many places for me to look them all up right now – start with is book “Truth and Tolerace”. The desire for freedom from all limitations, especially my desire for freedom from you is the “original sin” of Adam and Eve. True freedom is not “freedom from” but “freedom for“, that is, “freedom for others”.

Therefore I can only be free if I make sure that you are free. My rights are protected when your rights are protected. This is why it is so important that we do not “invent” rights, and that understand that a “hierarchy of rights” exists also among those rights which are true rights.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “I’m free if you’re free

  1. I dread to think what “rights” they’ll come up with. When “rights” are just perceived as “those things I want” – we have a major problem.

    Very disturbing altogether. If we end up with a Bill of Rights, I will take great delight in regularly flipping the bird at the AHRC.

  2. I wonder whether Pell, in arguing for the protection of “religious freedom”, will allow “freedom from the religious freedom of others

    Sounds a helluva lot like “error has no rights” to me.

    Makes you wonder how these people think they’re any better than the people who ran The Inquisitions.

  3. Secularists have a lot of nerve. They call us bigots, but they cannot even see their own bigotry.

  4. Kiran

    Well, actually, I think there is a problem with “rights-speak” as such in talking about freedom. But leaving that aside, I would say that apart from a Judeo-Christian (or perhaps better say scriptural) perspective, it is difficult to know what is meant by “human.” It is not at all obvious to me, that if the world had not been Christian, the Amer-indians would today be regarded as human beings.