Brief description of events involving
governmental, social, & education policies
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, lists brief descriptions of events
considered by some to be examples of religious discrimination by governmental,
social, and educational policies.
The ReligiousTolerance.org web site does not normally publish extensive
passages from other web sites. However, the following is a wide-ranging list of
events that may be deleted from the Wikipedia web site at any time. Wikipedia's
policy is that "Lists
of miscellaneous information should be avoided" and relocated elsewhere.
Excerpt from Wikipedia:
- The Eagle Feather Law, which governs the possession and
religious use of eagle feathers, was officially written to protect then
dwindling eagle populations while still protecting traditional
Native American spiritual and religious customs,
of which the use of eagles are central. The Eagle Feather Law later
met charges of promoting racial and religious discrimination due to the
law’s provision authorizing the possession of eagle feathers to members of
only one ethnic group, Native Americans, and forbidding Native Americans
from including non-Native Americans in indigenous customs involving eagle
feathers—a common modern practice dating back to the early 1500s.
- Charges of religious and racial discrimination have also been found in
the education system. In a recent example, the dormitory policies at Boston
University and The University of South Dakota were charged with racial and
religious discrimination when they forbade a university dormitory resident
from smudging while praying. The policy at The University of South Dakota
was later changed to permit students to pray while living in the university
- Religious organizations such as the Seventh-day
Adventist Church make it clear in their university catalog that they
have the right to discriminate on the basis of religion. They discriminate
against non-Adventists in hiring practices, disciplinary action, and
promotions. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has made many anti-Catholic
statements stating that the Bible identifies the Pope as the Anti-Christ.
Today, the church has softened these statements, explaining that they
interpret the biblical passages as referring to the papal institution and
not to a specific person. Recently, they have also taken measures against
church members who have publicly attacked the pope, especially those who
claim that it is in the name of the church.
- During 1995-1998 Newfoundland [in Canada] had only Christian schools
(four of them, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and
inter-denominational (Anglican, Salvation Army and United Church)). The
right to organize publicly supported religious schools was only given to
certain Christian denominations, thus tax money used to support a selected
group of Christian denominations. The denominational schools could also
refuse admission of a student or the hiring of a qualified teacher on purely
- Quebec has used two school systems, one Protestant and the other
Roman Catholic ... [until 1998 when this system was]... replaced with two
secular school systems: one French and the other English.
- In Greece since the independence from the Muslim Ottomans rule in the
1800s, the Greek Orthodox church has been given
privileged status and only the Greek Orthodox church, Roman Catholic, some
Protestant churches, Judaism and
Islam are recognized religions. The Muslim minority
alleges that Greece persistently and systematically discriminates against
- According to a Human Rights Practices report by the U.S. State
Department on Mexico note that "some local officials infringe on religious
freedom, especially in the south". There is conflict between Catholic/Mayan syncretists and Protestant evangelicals in the Chiapas region.
- In some U.S. jurisdictions legal restrictions exist which require a
religious test as a qualification for holding public office, for instance in
Texas an official may be "excluded from holding office" if he/she does not
"acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being." (i.e.
Thus Atheists, Agnostics,
[Humanists], Buddhists, most
Satanists, some Unitarian
Universalists, [Wiccans, other
Neopagans,] and New Age followers, who do not believe in a supreme being
would be excluded from public office. [Such laws have been annulled by
federal Constitution; however, their existence is seen as oppressive by many
- In 2004, a case involving five Ohio prison inmates (two followers of
Asatru, a minister of the
Church of Jesus Christ Christian, a
Wiccan witch and a
denial of access to ceremonial items and opportunities for group worship was
brought before the Supreme Court.
The Boston Globe
reports on the 2005 decision of
in favor of the claimants as a notable case. Among the denied objects was
instructions for runic writing requested by an Asatruer.
Inmates of the "Intensive Management Unit" at
Washington State Penitentiary who are adherents of Asatru in 2001 were
deprived of their
Thor's Hammer medallions.
In 2007, a federal judge confirmed that Asatru adherents in US prisons have
the right to possess a Thor’s Hammer pendant. An inmate sued the Virginia
Department of Corrections after he was denied it while members of other
religions were allowed their medallions.
- Religious discrimination has also been documented in employment,
such as an
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) law suit alleging
discrimination against an Iranian-Muslim employee by the Merrill Lynch
company in US.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Religious discrimination," Wikipedia, 2008-JUL-09, at:
This article is licensed under the
GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article
Originally posted: 2008-SEP-04
Posted by: B.A. Robinson