The Sri Lanka Rationalist Association (SLRA) criticized Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith for recently stating that there would be no space for human rights if a society lacked faith in religion.
The Archbishop had also stated that a country could not abandon its cultural habits or bow down to rules of the international community amid pressure from them concerning the human rights situation, if all had a faith in religion and respected human rights.
Life Member of the SLRA, Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga said that such a statement was both an outrageous and incorrect one.
“Does this mean that Buddhists and those who follow Confucianism or any number of other philosophies of life which are essentially faithless as opposed to religions, do not possess morals by virtue of the mere fact that they do not have a faith or adhere to a religion?” he queried.
“We do not need religion to have morals or regard for human rights, he observed, adding that it should be a human right, not to have a religion as it is not a requirement to do so and such should be explicitly enshrined in a Constitution in the same way the right to have a religion is guaranteed in the Constitution.”
He highlighted that faith was in the ancient past (as in the case of the Egyptians) and is in the present used by rulers as a tool to control the populous and to get the population to do their bidding.