Freedom of Conscience and Religion
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AbstractThere are many quips about conscience, such as "a clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory," or the French proverb, "there is no pillow so soft as a clear conscience." Harper Lee (1926-) said, "the one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." Many people would agree with the aphorism "a conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good." Today, the Charter, under the heading of "Fundamental Freedoms," in section 2 guarantees to "everyone", the following fundamental freedom: "(a) freedom of conscience and religion." The other freedoms in this section are: freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. The constitutional right to a free conscience is not found in the US Constitution. Black's Law Dictionary defines "liberty of conscience" as the liberty for each individual to decide for oneself what is personally religious. Conscience is the moral sense of right or wrong, especially a moral sense applied to one's own judgment and actions. In 1985, the Manitoba Court of Appeal in Mackay v. Manitoba defined "conscience" as "self-judgment on the moral quality of one's conduct or the lack of it ..."
Article deposited after permission was granted by the editor of LawNow Magazine 06/28/2010.