Manual on the Wearing of Religious Symbols in Public Areas
it meant that their belies depended on the belies o others:i their rulers were to change their belies, the people wouldhave to change theirs as well. Naturally, or those who tooktheir belies seriously this was an impossible state o a-airs and inevitably gave rise to conict. In order to reducetensions, a urther development came about with states rec-ognising the legitimacy o a limited number o belies whichthey would allow to be practised within their territories.However, or as long as the governance o a state was prem-ised upon the primacy o a particular pattern o religiousbelie, this always carried with it the risk o persecutionshould minority belies cease to be tolerated. Moreover, oras long as religious aliation was seen as a marker o ‘be-longing’ to the state itsel, those who chose not to adhere tothe dominant religious tradition(s) would inevitably be seenas presenting a potential threat to the political elites, andeven when they presented no threat at all, were capable o being portrayed as posing a potential threat when it suitedthe interests o those in authority to do so, rendering thempermanently vulnerable.As long ago as the early seventeenth century, however,powerul voices called or a dierent approach. Te inu-ential international jurist, Alberico Gentili, writing shortlybeore the onset o the 30 Years War that tore apart centralEurope and, through the Peace o Westphalia in 648 gavebirth to the modern system o European statehood, arguedthat:
‘Religion is a matter o the mind and o the will, which isalways accompanied by reedom... Religion ought to be ree.(I) truly the proession o a dierent orm o religious belie by their subjects does not harm princes, we are... unjust... i we persecute those who proess another religion than ourown.’
Tis is a plea that still resonates today and which is yet to beully realised. Ever since the triumph o the Enlightenmentas reected in the writings o Locke and in its realisation inthe Revolutions o the late Eighteenth century, the idea thatindividuals should exercise the reedom o thought and o conscience in matters o religion and o belie has becomeincreasingly well established and is now universally ac-knowledged. Te more pressing diculty became how this
2 Alberico Gentili,
De Iure Belli Libri Tres
, book I, Chapter IX.