For centuries, religious liberty in Britain existed as a broad-ranging but principally negative freedom at common law. Individuals were permitted to do as they pleased in matters of faith, unless the law stated otherwise. Religious liberty, thus conceived, was more passive toleration of religion than any active promotion of religious freedom as a fundamental right. All that changed on October 2, 2000 when the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) – the United Kingdom’s de facto Bill of Rights – came into full force and brought with it Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights (“ECHR”).
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