Laws Penalizing Blasphemy, Apostasy and Defamation of Religion are Widespread
On Nov. 20, a Pakistani court ordered blasphemy charges dropped against a Christian teenager who had been accused of burning pages from the Quran. A new Pew Forum analysis finds that as of 2011 nearly half the countries and territories in the world have laws against blasphemy, apostasy or defamation.
Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion
Between mid-2009 and mid-2010, religious restrictions rose not only in countries that began the year with high or very high restrictions, such as Indonesia and Nigeria, but also in many countries that began with low or moderate restrictions, such as Switzerland and the United States. The report looks at restrictions due to government actions as well as acts of violence and intimidation by private individuals, organizations and social groups.
Catholics Share Bishops’ Concerns about Religious Liberty
A new survey report finds that Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops’ concerns about restrictions on religious liberty generally agree with the bishops’ concerns. Yet there are no significant differences in the presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard about the bishops’ protests and those who have not.
Rising Restrictions on Religion – One-third of the world’s population experiences an increase
Restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose in 23 of the world’s 198 countries (12%), decreased in 12 countries (6%) and remained essentially unchanged in 163 countries (82%) between mid-2006 and mid-2009, a new Pew Forum report shows. More than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third of the world’s population – live in the 23 countries with increasing government restrictions or social hostilities involving religion.
Churches in Court
Whenever churches or religious organizations find themselves involved in civil litigation, courts first must determine whether the First Amendment’s religion clauses bestow a unique legal status on religious organizations that puts some of their decisions and actions beyond the reach of civil laws.
Indonesia’s Place Along the Spectrum of Global Religious Restriction
This analysis draws upon testimony on U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy: the Outlook for 2010, before the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, Feb. 3, 2010.