On a scale of 1 to 10, 3 seems like a pretty good score. Like others, I suggest
we move on to more important matters in the USA.
The United States is not a very free country these days. Two rights
that, I thought, would always be maintained here, were the right to freedom of
speech and the right to keep and bear arms. Of the first some
forums at least are still pretty good at allowing all opinions when avoiding
name-calling (the DNews is one of the better ones), though people are more and
more afraid to give their opinions now in public for fear of retaliation, losing
one's job etc. The second constitutional right, to keep and bear arms,
now very much depends on the State in which you live.
How about we stop worrying about "religious" freedom and start worrying
about just "freedom."
I could 'believe' that Brazil has greater religious
'freedom', than say the US. For the article Religious Freedom appears
to be defined as laws enacted by the State, which may control, monitor, declare
'legal' etc, in regard to religious expression.So, in
Brazil given the large number of 'native' populations there may not be
any government program to 'convert', or 'coerce' those
people to some other religious system, say the Christian Religion.That sort of Religious Freedom did not really exist in the US, until very
recently, and even now all non-Christian religions systems are measured in terms
of what is considered acceptable to Christians.Of course,
'mormons' have their own Fundamentalists, who would engage in plural
marriages due to their religious beliefs.Yet the State of Utah has
had laws on the books criminalizing this 'expression' of religious
belief, and only recently has this been limited by the court in prosecution of
husband and wives.I would rate Utah's Religious Freedom to be 4
or 5, on this account.It seems that often Religious Freedom means
'Freedom to practice 'my' brand, all others need not apply'.
I didn't cover one important point in my prior comment. There is one clear
example of Brazil surpassing the United States in terms of religious freedom, at
least so far:"Since May 14, 2013, same-sex marriage has been a
right of all same-sex couples to access marriage status, due to a sweeping
Federal Court ruling, which denies notaries of states who do not recognize
same-sex marriage the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. Same-sex
unions have been legally recognized in Brazil since 2004. Since 2013 same-sex
couples enjoy the provisions of several constitutional principles and the
absence of prohibitive legislation." (-- Wikipedia)No one's
right to marriage in Brazil is impeded by any national religious influence.
Religious freedom is freedom FROM religion as much as (or maybe even more than)
it's freedom OF religion. This separation of Church and State is even more
impressive, as the country is 65% Roman Catholic. So, if you want
to emulate Brazil's religious freedom, we could start with that.
The "religious freedom" articles are reaching comical levels. Brazil and South Africa? Both countries have some of the worst poverty and
income inequality in the world. I was in Brazil on my mission, and if there are
few restrictions on religion, it is because there are few restrictions on
anything. And I find it ironic that religion freedom is now under
attack in the US, but it was not under attack when people were writing
discrimination into constitutions to limit the religious freedoms of LGBT
@Ranch"Frankly, government needs to restrict religion more."Frankly, @Ranch, government needs to restrict less, religion or not. How much
imposition on your liberty are you willing to accept?
Another DN "story" that relies on cherry-picking data out of someone
else's report.At Pew's site, this report is led by
"Social Hostility Against Jews At 7-year High." If we want to talk
about religious freedom, we should talk about the actual ability to practice
your religion peacefully somewhere. If you're only going to look at paper
restrictions and not what's going on in the world, you're going to
draw the wrong conclusions.The United States has, according to the
webpage of the Hartford Seminary's "Institution for Religious
Research," 350,000 congregations comprising 217 denominations. No country
tops that absolute proof of true religious freedom.And as for
marriage and religion, the United States beats Brazil hands down in one very
important metric. Religious marriage is not legal in Brazil! Everyone there
has to have a civil marriage. You can also have a religious ceremony, but
it's not legal and no clergyman can legally solemnize a marriage. Compare
THAT to the US.You have to ignore a lot of stuff to conclude that
Brazil has more religious freedom than the good ol' USA.
So, basically lack of government restrictions on religions equates to
"religious freedom". Frankly, government needs to restrict religion
more. Were it not for government restrictions on religious practices we would
still have virgin sacrifices, inquisitions, witch burnings (she floats,
she's a witch).Religion should not be involved in government;
the combination is toxic.
"The country has seen some litigation over religious freedom issues in
recent years, especially cases surrounding same-sex marriage."Yes, including the Religious Right's attempts to prevent all religions
from marrying gay couples regardless of their beliefs on the subject.However, when I reviewed the report, what I gathered was reflective less of
litigation (which infers at least some measure of freedom) than of the impact of
the "war on terror," i.e. increased surveillance/harassment of Muslim
populations; Boston Marathon bombing; attempts to prevent the building of
mosques; attacks on Muslims or those mistaken for Muslims (Sikhs).In
fact, answer to two questions within the Social Hostilities Index (SHI) that
contributed to the increase in the U.S.'s score on this measure were:SHI #6: Did violence result from tensions between religious groups? Answer: Yes, with physical violence in a few cases.SHI #8: Did
religious groups themselves attempt to prevent other religious groups from being
able to operate? Answer: YesSo I think a strong argument can
be made that religious institutions/individuals are primarily responsible for
the transgressions against religious freedom we've experienced in our
Philippines"... the Filipino Constitution requires separation between
church and state, according to Georgetown University."This all is only
theory. Reality looks much more grim. The RC church intervenes in making new
laws. So I would label the Philippines not among the top countries for having
freedom of religion. The RC church is still too powerfull. Hence the big junk of
poverty in this country.
"The country has seen some litigation over religious freedom issues in
recent years, especially cases surrounding same-sex marriage."So, it would appear that "religious freedom" includes Religions right
to determine what OTHER people can do.Religious freedom proponents
seem to be saying "It is contrary to MY religious beliefs, so YOU should
not do it."Don't religions really want "religious
PhilippinesThe Philippines is one South Pacific country with a high
tolerance for religion. It has a 1.0 ranking on the government index scale.
Similar to the countries above, the Filipino Constitution requires separation
between church and state, according to Georgetown University.Its
true that the Philippines has a strict seperation between state and church. So
far the theory. In reality, the Philippine RC church will do everything to
negate unfavoured new bills coming into law. Recently, a pooll showed that 60%
of the population is pro a divorce law. Yes, the Philippines is the only country
without a divorce law. But the official statement of the CPCB was against such a
law, despite what the population said in the poll.
I find it interesting that the countries rated as more religiously free than the
U.S. are all listed as having a hard separation of church and state - something
that many who claim religious freedom is under attack or lacking in the U.S.
claim does not and should not exist in our Constitution.
The U.S. is at a 3.0 because the U.S. Government isn't allowed by the
Constitution to foist religious values on its people like some countries do.
Just because various freedoms that contradict each other doesn't mean we
have worse religious freedoms than other countries. Anybody can worship as they
choose in this country. What they can't do is use religious freedom as a
pretext to malign and discriminate against other people who believe differently.
Whoever came up with list forgot that fundamental concept.
The correct number for the U.S. is 3.0.