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An Important and Sobering Report on the Lack of Religious Freedom in Our World Today

By Mark D. Roberts | Friday, January 8, 2010

A couple of years ago I became aware of tothesource when one of their journalists interviewed me about the reliability of the gospels. I was impressed by the quality of the conversation, and signed up to receive their weekly emails. (You can do the same here.) Since then, I have continued to appreciate the informative and relevant input from tothesource. They keep me aware of important issues, ideas, events, and people that I might otherwise overlook.

For example, this week’s tothesource email, entitled “A Dangerous Epiphany,” focuses on the persecution of religious people thorughout the world, including and especially Christians. The article highlights a recent study released by the Pew Research Center: “Global Restrictions on Religions.” You can find the executive summary here, and download a PDF of the full report here. It is a sobering report, to say the least.

Consider, for example, these paragraphs from the executive summary:

“Global Restrictions on Religion,” a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, finds that 64 nations — about one-third of the countries in the world — have high or very high restrictions on religion. But because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, nearly 70% of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with heavy restrictions on religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities.

Some restrictions result from government actions, policies and laws. Others result from hostile acts by private individuals, organizations and social groups. The highest overall levels of restrictions are found in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, where both the government and society at large impose numerous limits on religious beliefs and practices. But government policies and social hostilities do not always move in tandem. Vietnam and China, for instance, have high government restrictions on religion but are in the moderate or low range when it comes to social hostilities. Nigeria and Bangladesh follow the opposite pattern: high in social hostilities but moderate in terms of government actions.

I would encourage you to read the executive summary of the Pew report, if not the whole report. And I would also urge you to check out tothesource. I thank them for their consistently helpful work.

Topics: Religion and Culture |


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