Religious freedom and economic growth linked in 2014

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • TimBehrend Auckland NZ, 00
    Jan. 3, 2015 6:49 a.m.

    Now the economic rise of China can be understood - it's due to the protection of religious freedom, not the exploitation of labour or the huge 'investment' in the wealth/income gap.

  • Contrariusiest mid-state, TN
    Jan. 3, 2015 2:34 a.m.

    @CI --

    "Also you have the right to be free from religious persecution - but the religious have the right to be free from persecution too. "

    But expecting someone to follow the laws of the land is NOT religious persecution.

    If your religion doesn't allow you to fulfill the legal requirements of a business license, then don't get a business license.

    It's really very simple.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 2, 2015 5:46 p.m.

    daehder1
    While you are certainly free to not belong or be forced to participate in religion - you do not have freedom FROM religion any more than the religious have freedom from atheism - you are expected to tolerate others if you expect them to tolerate you. Indeed the statement is as offensive as saying I have the right to be free from Jews: NO you don't.

    Also you have the right to be free from religious persecution - but the religious have the right to be free from persecution too. One of the first steps toward that is merely acknowledging religious persecution exists - which many on these posts are completely loath to do because to do so would be tolerant, which is what the politically correct demand but its not what they DO

  • daehder1 Parker, AZ
    Jan. 2, 2015 10:06 a.m.

    Freedom of religion is also the right to be free from religion and freedom from persecution by the religious, which we have never yet achieved in this country.

  • kolob1 sandy, UT
    Jan. 1, 2015 4:29 p.m.

    The problem I have with the gist of this article is that religious freedom does not by real definition mean a belief in God or any set(s) of Doctrines. Religious freedom as promised us in the Second Amendment is simply a freedom to believe what we want in regard to our religious preferences as long as we don't infringe on the religious freedoms of others.This Amendment is one of the finest Amendments found in our Constitution but today it is being maligned to mean just what is being implied in this article. Only the religious have the right to profess their religion freely, to the exclusion of all others. This is a false premise. Those who need to use the State Legislatures to cement their religious freedom are violating the meaning of the Second Amendment. One has the right under the Second Amendment to worship a door handle if one wants. And of course to couple the religious freedom issue with the capitalistic goal is the very bulwark of modern evangelicals. Instead of praying your way into heaven you can just pay your way.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 31, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    @CI;

    If a gay (or straight) owned bookstore doesn't sell certain books, that is one thing. But if a business ALREADY provides a product or service to the general public, but then says to a particular segment of the public "WE DON'T SERVE YOUR KIND HERE". That is another thing entirely.

    If a feminist baker bakes porno cakes for all other groups, then she CAN'T tell the bacherlors no. If she does not bake porno cakes for anybody then she CAN.

    You aren't helping yourself with your strawman arguments.

    Stalin and Mao suppressed religion because it was competition for the people's loyalty.

  • Contrarius mid-state, TN
    Dec. 30, 2014 10:33 p.m.

    @Counter Intelligence --

    "But it is naive to think that there is an inverse relationship"

    I don't believe anyone here said there WAS an inverse relationship.

    "pluralism (religious freedom) is the only viable alternative."

    Religious freedom is good. Just don't forget that the least religious persecution is often found in the least religious countries.

    "if a gay owned bookstore wont special order traditional marriage literature..."

    A gay-owned bookstore is unlikely to advertise that it sells traditional marriage literature (it's also unlikely to *object* to ordering it).

    "wants the company to pay for his ex-gay therapy via government mental health mandate..."

    There is no state in which "ex-gay therapy" is a standard part of health insurance coverage, and it's actually illegal in some states and some circumstances.

    "difference between a feminist baker refusing to bake a porno cake for a bachelor party and simply refusing to sell to men."

    There IS a difference. Unless she advertises that she bakes porno cakes, she can't be expected to bake one for anyone. But it would NOT be legal for her to refuse to sell one of her "regular" cakes to men.

    See how simple that is?

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2014 6:41 p.m.

    Contrariuser and RanchHand

    Stalin and Mao were militant atheists who followed Marx's belief that religion was the opium of the masses. They viscously suppressed religion and each were responsible for more deaths than Hitler. Yes it is true that modern China and Russia are not as bad as they once were and that many theocracies don't do much better. But it is naïve to think that there is an inverse relationship - both can stink. Which is why pluralism (religious freedom) is the only viable alternative.

    According to Ranchhand logic, if a gay owned bookstore wont special order traditional marriage literature - then anyone who want it can claim the mantle of victimhood and if an employee of the Advocate (a gay business) wants the company to pay for his ex-gay therapy via government mental health mandate, then they must be a hateful bigots if they refuse.

    However, logical people can see that there is a difference between a feminist baker refusing to bake a porno cake for a bachelor party and simply refusing to sell to men. A nuance beyond the capabilities of the fashionably intolerant who simply mirror what they despise.

    Thanks for proving my point

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 30, 2014 6:57 a.m.

    @Counter Intelligence;

    "Forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs is NOT religious freedom ..."

    --- Baking a cake for an LGBT marriage and providing other services is NOT against your "religious beliefs". MARRYING someone of the same gender is. So, unless you are marrying someone of your own gender your "religious beliefs" are intact.

    Furthermore, those people who refuse to bake for an LGBT wedding, happiliy bake for the weddings of fornicators, adulterers, Sabbath breakers, thieves and murderers. So much for their "sincerely held religious beliefs". All they're doing is discriminating against only one class of "sinners".

    As for "intolerance", Who voted to restrict the religious freedom of LGBT Americans? You did.

    The worst countries for religious freedom are religious countries.

  • @J.S Layton, UT
    Dec. 29, 2014 10:19 p.m.

    @ Westy Sheboygan, WI

    "God economically blesses nations that embrace religious principles. Athhiest nations, like the Soviet Union and Cuba fail economically"

    Your comment can't even be taking into consideration. There are many other nations out there doing pretty well economically that have a high number of atheists or don't believe in the christian God.

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    Dec. 29, 2014 8:41 p.m.

    @Counter Intelligence --

    "Throughout the twentieth century the countries with the least religious freedom have been militantly secular countries"

    I doubt that claim.

    Vladimir Putin, for instance, is quite cozy with the Russian Orthodox church. And about 70% of Cubans identify as Catholic. But Muslim theocracies are the ones where denominations are slaughtering each other.

    "Forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs is NOT religious freedom - yet the intolerant left does so with wild abandon; complaining that they are somehow the "victim" when others refuse to tolerate their overt perpetration."

    I always have to laugh at this sort of hyperbolic pronouncement.

    The LGBT population has routinely been bullied, beaten, and killed just for being gay. In many US states they can still be fired or thrown out of their own homes for being gay -- and in many countries they can still be thrown in jail and sometimes even EXECUTED just for being gay. Yet somehow you feel entitled to call pro-equality people intolerant??

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2014 7:13 p.m.

    @RanchHand

    Your allegations are quantifiably the exact opposite of the truth. Throughout the twentieth century the countries with the least religious freedom have been militantly secular countries such as the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, eastern European countries, southeast Asian regimes. Agreed that theocracies are not healthy, but neither are atheocracies. Jumping from one extreme to another may be politically correct - but it is NOT tolerant.



    @ordinaryfolks

    Religious freedom does include the freedom to not believe
    However the opposite of theocracy is NOT atheocracy - it is pluralism
    What is it about this concept that you, Furry, Ranchhand, Laura Bilington, 1aggie,Tyler D and Hutterite simply refuse to understand.



    Forcing someone to do something against their religious beliefs is NOT religious freedom - yet the intolerant left does so with wild abandon; complaining that they are somehow the "victim" when others refuse to tolerate their overt perpetration.

    I do not belong to any religious faith and am homosexual, but ironically, this myopic reactionary extremism is precisely why I have so little regard for the fashionably intolerant left and end up in the conservative camp almost entirely by default. Conservatives seem to be so much more intellectually liberal and open minded than political liberals.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Dec. 29, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    Countries with the least religious freedom usually have a strong government/religion connection favoring one particular religion.

    Its going to be a tough sell to get those countries to renounce their religious power in favor of more religious freedom. Secular countries have the most religious freedom.

    @gmlewis;

    You are proud to live in a country that has religious freedom, yet you WORK to deny relgious freedom to some Americans. Isn't that the very definition of hypocrisy?

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 27, 2014 8:31 p.m.

    People should watch Brian J. Grimm's TED Talk, as referenced in the article, before commenting.

    Brian J. Grimm noted that research shows when a government favors one religion over others it is associated with high social hostilities.

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    Dec. 27, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    @Contrariusester,
    I have studied long term economic growth and religious freedom. I have attempted to quantify some of the results as it relates to the growth of the Mormon church. I believe that you hit the nail on the head in suggesting an unnamed third variable. That variable is political freedom. In Western Europe, it is fairly clear that political and economic freedom were intertwined. Wealth is caused by political and economic freedom. I believe that religious freedom was causal as well but I don't have statistically testable data and I don't know anyone else that does. As I read history, it seems that the Catholic church gets more blame for religious intolerance and the rising secular states to little during the Protestant Reformation. I believe that it wasn't until the rights of kings was politically diminished that religious tolerance became a reality.

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    Dec. 27, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    @Wilf 55,
    I strenuously disagree with your definition of religious freedom. Imagine if we applied the same rule to political freedom or economic freedom. Everybody can belong to any party they wish so long as nobody attempts to persuade them to join another party or vote for a person in another party. You are free to hold any job that you wish so long as you do not try to improve your economic position.

    The authors of the paper draw very modest conclusions that do not include religious freedom leading to economic growth. They conclude that religious freedom is correlated to economic growth.

    @Tyler D.
    We agree with the importance of a secular state, if that state is simultaneously democratic, in the provision of religious freedom. I am less convinced by your statement that "religion has a long history of being antithetical towards freedom..." Elites who are not subject to the rule of law are antithetical towards freedom be they religious or non religious elites.

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Dec. 27, 2014 9:43 a.m.

    @Cats --

    "Have you read the entire study?"

    Dear Cats:

    I clearly said "may very well be". The article and quotes show no evidence to the contrary. I'm quite sure that *you* haven't read the study. ;-)

    "Are you an expert on this subject?"

    I spent years of my life doing scientific research, so you might consider me one -- relative to John Q. Public, anyway.

    "Once again, those who are made uncomfortable by this study and its conclusion have to try to find a way to make it invalid. It's really sad...really sad."

    Once again, those who wilfully ignore scientific realities and realistic alternate theories in their drive to ignore the real world are really sad... really sad. (Please note that I'm NOT referring to Grim here.)

    Nobody is trying to make this study invalid. Religious freedom is a good thing, after all. But remember -- "religious freedom" doesn't mean "lots of religious people" or "people all agreeing on the same religion". In fact, religious persecution most often happens in highly religious communities -- so Grim's study may actually be indicating that highly religious societies in general drag down GDPs. Yet another possible interpretation of his results.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Dec. 27, 2014 8:48 a.m.

    Dear Contrariusester:

    Have you read the entire study? Are you an expert on this subject? What makes you think this guy is a rookie? He sounds like a pretty experienced person to me. He's been with Pew for a long time.

    Once again, those who are made uncomfortable by this study and its conclusion have to try to find a way to make it invalid. It's really sad...really sad.

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Dec. 27, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    @Cats --

    "His conclusions, after many years of study, are that economic wellbeing correlates with religious freedom."

    CORRELATE being the operative term here.

    As Wilf 55 mentioned earlier, this guy may very well being confusing correlation with causation. That's a rookie mistake that many researchers fall victim to.

    Which actually comes first -- the religious freedom, or the healthy economy? Which one actually enables the other? Or are they both made possible by some unnamed third element? He has made no effort to eliminate the tangle.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Dec. 27, 2014 4:50 a.m.

    Some people never miss a chance to go on the attack. I can't believe how twisted some people have tried to make this information. The article states that this man has spent many years as a Pew researcher. His conclusions, after many years of study, are that economic wellbeing correlates with religious freedom. Haters never miss a chance to twist and proclaim whatever fits their agenda to be a fact. Studies like this make some people really uncomfortable.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 6:34 p.m.

    @West Sheboygen
    "God economically blesses nations that embrace religious principles."

    The nations with the highest standard of living are frequently those nations that generally are near the top for highest percentage of non-religious. Incidentally, a lot of the nations that are near the top in non-religiosity are also near the top for religious freedom, which is the thing compared to economic indicators in this article.

  • intervention slc, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    @Westy Sheboygan
    So then how do you explain the numerous countries in Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East that all have higher levels of religious devotion then the US and are far more poor then Russia or China.BTW I don't know if you know to many Russian people but most of the Russian be I have meet are actually religious.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Dec. 26, 2014 3:31 p.m.

    Ultimately, religious freedom entails the freedom to worship according to your own conscience. You can have religious freedom even if you lack freedom of speech to proclaim your beliefs.

    Freedom of the press allows scriptures to be published and available. Without access to the scriptures, you can still believe what you want.

    Freedom of assembly allows common believers to meet in common worship, but without it we can still worship in our hearts.

    I am deeply grateful that I live in a country where freedom of religion, speech, the press, and assembly are provided and protected.

    Freedom to act is also different. The choices and actions we make can be legally circumscribed for lots of non-religious reasons. I can be against abortion for convenience and not feel privy to God's will in every instance. I can be against war without proclaiming that a real devil rejoices at this madness.

  • Westy Sheboygan, WI Sheboygan, WI
    Dec. 26, 2014 3:02 p.m.

    God economically blesses nations that embrace religious principles. Athhiest nations, like the Soviet Union and Cuba fail economically

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    Dec. 26, 2014 10:06 a.m.

    "Not all is positive on the religious freedom front, as many tragic events in 2014 bear witness."

    Yes, there certainly were. A dozen states had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into complying with the Constitution and dropping their religiously based gay marriage bans.

    Texas, in a pretend showing of concern for the safety of its citizens, passed a law which had the effect of shutting down half of the abortion clinics in the state. The law was passed to pander to the beliefs of the religious right there. At least a majority of the SCOTUS judges had the integrity to vote that one out.

    Some religions have the idea that religious freedom gives them the right to impose THEIR beliefs on the rest of us.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Religious freedom is what ISIS seeks.

  • Midvaliean MIDVALE, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    So with Utah's economy as good as it is we can assume according to your article that we are religiously free here. Perfect.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    Dec. 26, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Yes, and religious freedom is the freedom to believe or not.

    And religious freedom means that no sect dominates the political and social fabric.

    And therefore, calls that essentially put us into a theocratic mode (No same sex marriage...it's against my religion!) go against this freedom.

    What about this concept don't some people understand.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 26, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Religious freedom is incidental to the real rink; namely freedom of thought & expression and country’s prosperity.

    Further, religious freedom is only ever guaranteed under a secular and wholly neutral (when it comes to religion) government. Religion has a long history of being antithetical towards freedom and whenever it gains control of state power, freedom is usually the first thing to go.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    @Mountanman 7:56 a.m. Dec. 26, 2014

    @ Furry: How could you possibly get interpretation that from this article? Blinded by your own ideology are you?
    ------------------

    You have to be blinded by YOUR ideology to miss it.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Dec. 26, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    @ Furry: How could you possibly get interpretation that from this article? Blinded by your own ideology are you?

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Cause and consequence seem to be twisted here in the way the links are presented. It is not religious freedom that leads to economic growth, but the type of government that fosters democracy and initiative. In that realm there is also religious freedom.

    Also, one item that is often missing in such a discussion, is a definition of religious freedom. Basically, religious freedom is the right to live one's religion openly and respect the religion of others. It does not automatically include the right to try to convince others of the wrongness of their religion and convert them to another one. In some countries conversion attempts cause such disruptions in families and communities that they undermine economic growth. Correlation studies should be more refined to include such nuances.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Dec. 26, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    Wow! The DesNews again tries to argue in favor of prejudice and discrimination asedon claims of religious freedom. This is truly sad.