U.S. Religious Freedom
2017: Religious freedom report.
President Trump calls for the
protection of religious freedom:
2019-JUL: Pew Research Center's report on religious freedom:
Matt Hadro, writing for the Catholic News Agency, said:
"The Pew Research Center released its 10th annual report on global religious restrictions. It found that global restrictions on religious freedom had intensified over the ten-year span from 2007 to 2017.
In 2017, 52 countries had 'high' or 'very high' levels of restriction by governments, and 56 countries had 'high' or 'very high' levels of social hostility involving religion, the Pew report said.
Pew numbers from 2018 said that 83% of the world’s population lived in countries with high or very high religious restrictions; populous countries such as India and China, which also restrict freedom of religion, contribute to this high number, the report said." 1 (Bold text not in original article)
That means about 6.4 billion humans are living in countries that lack religious freedom!
A main cause of this oppression is that many religious individuals believe that their particular denomination, faith group, or sect within their religion has the fullness of truth, that all other groups within their religion hold somewhat faulty beliefs, and that other religions teach a great deal of error. Since there are on the order of 30,000 Christian faith groups worldwide, and large numbers of faith groups within other world religions, this is statistically very improbable.
Another cause is that many people believe that only those who believe as they do will attain Heaven after death. They also feel an obligation to convert followers of other religions to theirs because they believe that people who follow the "wrong" faith group would spend eternity in the torture chambers of Hell without any hope of relief.
When people who hold these beliefs about followers of other religions, and also attain a position of authority in their country, some might feel an obligation to introduce restrictions on other religions to convert the others to the "correct" belief system.
2019-SEP-23: President Trump speaks on worldwide religious freedom at the UN:
A group of world leaders spoke out against religious persecution and lack of freedom at a special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during its 74th session. It was called a: "Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom." Victims from religious oppression in Sudan, Iran, China, and Turkey were present.
President Trump was present and was one of the speakers. He was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
An unidentified senior Trump administration official said:
"This event seeks to highlight and broaden international support for protecting religious freedom in the wake of increasing persecution of people on the basis of their own beliefs and faiths, and a growing number of attacks on and destruction of houses of worship, religious sites, and relics by state and nonstate actors." 1
President Trump considers religious freedom as one of his highest priorities. Addressing UNGA, he said:
"Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution. Stop the crimes against people of faith. ... Release prisoners of conscience. Repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief. Protect the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed." 2
He also said:
"It is estimated that 11 Christians are killed every day, I mean, just think of this: Eleven Christians a day, for following the teachings of Christ. Who would even think that’s possible in this day and age?"
He said that the U.S. would dedicate, in U.S. funds:
"$25 million to protect religious freedom, religious sites, and relics," and to form "... a coalition of US businesses for the protection of religious freedom."
"... the governments of the world to honor the eternal right of every person to follow their conscience, live by their faith, and give glory to God."
It is unclear whether President Trump is also concerned about including religious freedom for Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, secular Humanists, and others who lack a belief in a personal god.
The President listed some of the recent atrocities against people of various religious faiths in France, U.S., New Zealand, and Sri Lanka.
"Too often, people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning, or censoring the faithful. True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs."
Kelsey Zorzi, is both the International Director of Global Religious Freedom at Allliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the president of the United Nations’ NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief. The ADF strongly advocates against abortion, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and lack of religious freedom. 3 He said that:
"The president’s speech is an important and historic moment precisely because religious freedom is too often ignored or downplayed at the UN."
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also spoke at UNGA. He said that:
"The persecution of religious minorities is utterly intolerable. ... We must do all we can to avoid religious cleansing of societies." 1
He also listed some religious groups, some of which have been in existence for millennia, and which are now being targeted. He included: Chaldean, Assyrian Christian, and Yezidi communities in Iraq, saying he:
"... cannot accept that these communities that have been there for millennia will disappear from the region. ... It is clear that these communities like the Yezidis, like many others, in this region as everywhere in the world, are a deeply rooted part of the society, and it is essential to preserve religious diversity in all parts of the world."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Matt Hadro, "Attacks on religious communities 'a wound on all humanity' Trump tells UN," Catholic News Agency, 2019-SEP-23, at: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/
- Maegan Vazquez, "Trump announces religious freedom initiatives during UN speech," CNN, 2019-SEP-23, at: https://www.cnn.com/
- "Alliance Defending Freedom," Wikipedia, as of 2019-SEP-21, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
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Copyright © 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Original posting: 2019-SEP-24
Author: B.A. Robinson