There often seems to be a divide here in America between those who think there
should be a separation of church and state and those who think that separation
should not exist.As one who supports the separation, I do it from a
standpoint informed by many of the issues found in the Pew study.When religion and government are too closely intertwined, it results not only
in religion controlling the government, but in government controlling
religion.When we carve out legal exceptions based on religion, the
right of individuals to fully practice their religion is infringed.Whether laws are based on Sharia, Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism, some one
is going to get shut out and have their right to worship limited.
"...There is no concept of separation of church and state in Islamic
tradition...".Only in Islamic tradition?
A more accurate headline, IMVHO, would be: Religions across the world are
feeling back lash from their over reaching into political and public policies
and trying to force their beliefs on others.
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Who doesn't want that. Religion
is what you do religiously. What would I die for?
Liberals demand we keep religion out of their government but they have NO
problem forcing their government onto and into religion! This article and the
study referenced accurately points out examples.
These are the situations that the Founding Fathers were concerned about
happening and that is why they added the "Establishment Clause" to
prevent the Government from being the designated religion of the Nation.
Why we give Pakistan even a dime of foreign aid to prop them up is beyond me.
Look, liberals hate Christianity, just as any other competing faith does.
Liberals worship the God of Government, and a whole lot worship Obama in
particular. Just ask Barbara Walters, who called him "the Messiah" just
a couple of weeks ago. Listen to the liberals here on DN, who
insist that Christian churches should not be allowed to influence or even speak
up about topics, ever. They are curiously silent about Islam, though.
It would seem that the biggest oppressor of religions is other religions.
@Bob - Most of the examples of religious perspecution given in the article
involve cases where the religious minority is just trying to survive. The
article noted that the situation in the Americas is far different from the
religious conflicts in Europe, Asia, and Africa.To some people, the
very existence of a religion is deemed as overreaching into the public arena.
They will not be content until the religion is vanquished.
It appears when most of your read "Religious Freedom," you automatically
think of Christians being persecuted and demeaned. You have no problem with
making derogatory remarks or laws targeting Islam or Hinduism or Shinto. The
only religious people you are concerned about are either Christians or Jews. I am Pagan. None of you have a problem making fun of my religion. You
don't understand my religion; you don't even believe it's a
"real" religion.If you want my respect, respect me.
@gmlewis: I respectfully disagree. The examples in the article still demonstrate
at least one religion forcing it's beliefs on those who do not share the
same belief system. In some cases threating the existence of those who do not
share their belief. This is the inherent problem with all religions, especially
those that proclaim they are the only true religion and why in America NO
religion should be given a pass if it attempts to sway, create or otherwise
mingle in secular governmental policies.
To "Maudine" so what you want is for governments to adopt the state
religion of Athiesm or Secular Humanism. Either way, you have a state religion
that forces non-athiests to worship as the athiests proscribe.
I think this demonstrates how closely religion and politics are intertwined. Not
always for the better, and not always for the worse. Allowing free and open
debate on both is what I think has made the Americas, especially the US what it
is today. On the other side, if political debate is silenced, religious debate
is also and vice versa. I don't think it is possible to have one without
the other. "Absolute power will corrupt absolutely" - I don't think
there are vary many of us on this earth in which that phrase doesn't apply.
It is great that we are at a time and place where we must win converts (both
religious and political) by open and public debate. It saves us from ourselves.
Stand for something,or sit down and watch as others get abused for having
religion of some sort. I disagree with Ranch i think the biggest oppresor of
religion , is ones who have none.i see people like him degrading ones who
believe more then i do say a Catholic critizing a Mormon. We need to respect
ones even if it not what we feel is correct
Vanceone;Believe whatever you want. Express whatever you want.
Just don't try to force others who do not believe as you do to live by your
A person can worship anything or anyone they want to in there house, church, or
temple. No one is trying to stop you. Just don't force your beliefs and
your version of God on to anyone else. Just because your God tells you one thing
doesn't mean that my God is going to agree with you.
@Ranch"Believe whatever you want. Express whatever you want.
Just don't try to force others who do not believe as you do to live by your
beliefs."But you just did yourself. Why can't I force
someone to believe what I believe? By telling me that, you're pushing your
values on me. Most Muslim countries believe it's perfectly okay to force
someone to be Muslim.It's like consent in marriage. YOU
believe that consent is a requirement for marriage, why should someone else have
to believe that? Don't force your beliefs, ANY BELIEFS, on someone else.
Your moral line is different from someone else's.I'm
playing devil's advocate here, but you get my point. The 10th amendment
grants states to believe what they want to believe, that's why it's
okay for Utah to define marriage between a man and a woman, because they should
have the right to believe what they want to believe. Don't force them into
following your definition of marriage, that only "consent" is required
Religion isn't just the victim; it's the cause. It is never content to
be kept to itself, nor to an individual, or a group of individuals.
@Vanceone"who insist that Christian churches should not be allowed to
influence or even speak up about topics, ever. They are curiously silent about
Islam, though."It applies to Islam too but since the majority of
the nation is Christian, that's where the influence strong enough to change
laws comes from. Also, they can speak up however they want, but the laws must
have a secular reasoning to be constitutional.
To "Hutterite" unfortunately the worst religions are Athiesm and Secular
Humanism. They are currently the most vocal and forceful in pushing their
beliefs onto the nation.
Sheesh, the report is concerned with people being killed, and the comments
predictably break down into the usual debate over who's worse: secularists
or religionists. The stuff that's happening around the world makes our
debates here look petty. Can't we at least agree that people are entitled
to worship (or not) according to their own choices, and should never be
subjected to some of the vile things cited in the report?
I’m not surprised by the content of this article, but I’m somewhat
baffled by how to interpret it. Here we have one example after another of at
least one religion hindering the freedoms of another religion. Is it possible
the worst enemy of religion is religion?
Unfortunately I have a job and must work, so I do not have time to read the full
study today. But the takeaways from this article seem to be:1) The
right-wing ideologues in this country who claim that religious freedom is
decreasing here are wrong. This study shows that religious freedom is unchanged
in the Americas. Time to knock off the rhetoric here.2) it seems
abundantly clear that the genesis of most religious intolerance and persecution
today is religion itself (not the absence of religion). Religious people are
persecuting people of other religions or other factions of the same religion.
Even state-sponsored persecution is the result of one religion entrenching
itself in a government. Very ironic.
dw1156Salt Lake City, UT"Is it possible the worst enemy of
religion is religion?" Marxist countries are no better at protecting
religious freedom. Rigid ideology that does not respect individual agency,
religious or not, is the problem.
Hutterite:Sorry, but when one finds something that changes their
life for the better, they want to share it.My life has changed for
the better in so many ways since I returned to the Church. I am kinder, more
patient, better to my family. All of that because I accepted Christ. Peace
resides in my heart like never before.Some may become over-zealous
in sharing such a message. I have found though, that even if they do it is
based out of love and concern for their fellow man.
@The TaxmanI totally agree with your first comment. In fact, when
Christian conservatives in this country continually fight over issues like
displays of the Ten Commandments at court houses, they're actually doing a
disservice to the concept of freedom of religion. Those who are genuinely
concerned about freedom of religion should spend more time supporting their
fellow believers in other nations that do not enjoy the freedoms we do here in
the USA.As for your second comment, I would say you are partly
correct. Yes, religious people are indeed persecuting other religious people in
many nations. However in other countries such as China and North Korea it is
still the state and the state alone which is responsible for religious
@GZEYou said - "You have no problem with making derogatory
remarks or laws targeting Islam or Hinduism or Shinto. The only religious people
you are concerned about are either Christians or Jews."What laws
have been passed here in the U.S. against the religious groups you mentioned. As
for derogatory comments, are you seriously going to tell me that Christians in
this country are never targeted with derogatory comments? Are you seriously
going to tell me that journalists, bloggers, political activists and comedians
never insult or mock Christians? You said - "I am Pagan. None
of you have a problem making fun of my religion. You don't understand my
religion; you don't even believe it's a "real" religion. If
you want my respect, respect me." Okay, tell me about your
religion. I'm curious to listen.
Everything I read in this article points to the biggest oppressor of religious
freedom is other religions. Citizens of our nation, and nations who
have adopted separation of church and state ideals are able to foster their
personal faith and express it as they wish. The cycle of oppression
goes around and around: One conservative religious group takes civil power and
uses it to further their cause, oppressing other groups. The oppressed groups
eventually rise up and take that civil power for themselves as the old group
becomes corrupted by governmental power. Then, the new groups becomes the
oppressors until they stagnate and are replaced by a new group. Around and
around and around they go. I'm so proud and thankful to be an
American where our system of separation allows every person and faith community
to cultivate and grow their beliefs without being tainted by the lure of
"Some may become over-zealous in sharing such a message. I have found
though, that even if they do it is based out of love and concern for their
fellow man."So when as Islamic terrorist detonates a bomb,
killing hundreds of innocent people, we should chalk that up to him being
over-zealous in sharing his message out of his concern for his fellow man?
Any law (laws force people to live a certain way) that is passed comes from
someone's ideas of values or beleifs, whether or not those values or
beleifs were obtained from a religious source or otherwise. I don't
understand why a growing number of people think that only values and beleifs
obtained from non-religious sources are valid and should therefore be forced
upon people but values and beleifs obtained from religious sources are never
valid and should be eliminated completely from public life.
Ten steps to destroying religious freedom: 1. Followers of one faith
decide to use the power of their numbers or wealth to increase their earthly
influence.2. That faith begins to influence government. If you don’t
follow that faith, you are at a disadvantage at every point of civic contact.3. Civic leaders and religious leaders begin to overlap. 4. The church
becomes a path to power subjecting church leadership to political intrigue.5. Practices that were once unique to the dominant faith become mandatory and
enforceable by law whether you believe in those practices or not.6.
Religious practices loose efficacy because they are no longer expressions of
faith; they are mandates. 7. The dominant church is corrupted by power as
it becomes a branch of government and its workings become about power not
spirituality.8. In effort to keep and hold now corrupted power, the church
suppresses any who speak against it and punish heresy with civic power. They can
imprison, seize property, and kill any who contradict the establishment. 9. Spiritual minorities either within the church or from another faith rise up
against the oppression and corruption and seize power for themselves. 10.
@ tsquared"I don't understand why a growing number of people
think that only values and beleifs obtained from non-religious sources are valid
and should therefore be forced upon people but values and beleifs obtained from
religious sources are never valid and should be eliminated completely from
public life".I believe this statement is a straw man argument
that completely misrepresents reality. In reality, very few, if any, people
believe that values obtained from religious sources are "never valid".
The debate should be to what extent one person' or group's values
(whether rooted in religion or not) should be used as a basis to persecute or
restrict the freedom of others.
@Phillip M Hotchkiss;I criticize you and your religions because
you/they are trying to force others to live by your beliefs. When you stop,
I'll stop. You reap what you sow.@illuminated;You
say: "The 10th amendment grants states to believe what they want to believe,
that's why it's okay for Utah to define marriage between a man and a
woman, because they should have the right to believe what they want to believe.
"The 10th amendment doesn't say what you think it says. It
says that states have authority over what is NOT PROHIBITED them. Guess what,
discrimination against US citizens is prohibited the states. You don't get
to define terms such that they purposely discriminate against certain US
citizens you don't like.@RedWings;Good for you and
your life. I'm glad you're in a better place than you wee. My life, on
the other hand has been immeasurably better since I left "the church".
To "Ranch" but isn't that what the gays are doing with all of their
gay marriage lawsuits? They are trying to force those that do not believe in
gay marriage to accept gay marriage.As for the 10th Ammendment, you
are wrong. It tells the states that if there is nothing said about something in
the Constitution, then it is up to the state to decide how to handle it. Since
there is nothing in the Constitution about marriage, then it is up to the states
or the people to decide. We decided, now a judge has decided that the 10th
ammendment doesn't mean anything.
To RedWings:I am all for Mormons and other religious people sharing
their faith with me. I am also cool with missionaries knocking on my door. But
when I try to spread my beliefs (that all religion is man made) with my family
and friends they seem to get annoyed that I am trying to share that with them.
It has to go both ways.When people try and talk to me or show me
things about the Mormon church I always say "I will listen to what you have
to say if you will listen to what I have to say". They usually say never
mind. They don't want to hear opposing view points.
Many of my faith (Mormons) Believe that Marriage should be legally defined by
government. It is hard to study church history, the new testament and
prayerfully ask what the lord would have me do. then when receiving such
revelation when I know to be true is opposed to the popular view. It is hard to
disagree with the policy of the church in this matter... even if my view is
based on doctrine and not the opinions of current apostles. This is one of the
problems with living in Utah. This not only a problem with me but non Mormons
that live in Utah, they call the religious legislation for what it is,
I love this sentence,"That is not true of other dominant religions,
where it is more common for the dominant religion to align with the state to the
detriment of religious minorities and schismatics within their own
faith."It seems The State of Utah does not understand this
Irony. Render unto Ceaser. We make mammon enforce the laws of God.
the laws of God become corrupted and the corrupt laws corrupt our society to be
violent and judgmental, instead of using the spirit of Christ to persuade, we
use guns to enforce. Gays cant drink at the well of tax breaks and stewardship
rights because they are unclean. anyone that says otherwise is a heretic. If you personally believe the rhetoric about defining marriage as one
man and one woman, and are a Mormon I plead that you prayerfully study