Global Restrictions on Religion Rise Modestly in 2015, Reversing Downward Trend

By Pew Research Center

Government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015 for the first time in three years, according to Pew Research Center’s latest annual study on global restrictions on religion.

The share of countries with “high” or “very high” levels of government restrictions – i.e., laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices – ticked up from 24% in 2014 to 25% in 2015. Meanwhile, the percentage of countries with high or very high levels of social hostilities – i.e., acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organizations or groups in society – increased in 2015, from 23% to 27%. Both of these increases follow two years of declines in the percentage of countries with high levels of restrictions on religion by these measures.

When looking at overall levels of restrictions in 2015 – whether resulting from government policies and actions or from hostile acts by private individuals, organizations or social groups – the new study finds that 40% of countries had high or very high levels of restrictions, up from 34% in 2014.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. It is not surprising to see that some governments attempt to control their people, their behavior and way of thinking. Religion is the most effective means of doing just that, Religious leaders are not interested in helping people get to “heaven.” They just want to control peoples lives. Using the delusion that there is a “heaven” and a “hell” they use the idea of a “heaven” as bribery and a “hell” as blackmail. It is so sad to see so many people fall for this nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

    Optimistically, I hope that someday there will be a “New Renaissance” during which many peoples of this world will break free from psychological slavery and tyranny. Perhaps someday one truly democratic nation will vote for a secular government and will act as a leader for the rest of the world. No more “in God we trust” or “God bless America.”

  2. It must be noted that the stats behind the headline are not significantly sourced for the percentage change to be significant for a trend indication of government repression of religious members. However, the stats (nit sources) on the increase of mob rule (not government) oppression would be disturbing; simply because it indicates a trend toward populous acceptance of such mob behaviour.

  3. @OP – levels of government restrictions – i.e., laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs and practices – ticked up from 24% in 2014 to 25% in 2015. Meanwhile, the percentage of countries with high or very high levels of social hostilities – i.e., acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organizations or groups in society – increased in 2015, from 23% to 27%.

    I see that the supermarket Tesco has offered an unnecessary apology for an advert suggesting some beer and cider can make a holiday celebration better, while apparently some religious twits think people need to apologise for “offensive ignorance” or disregard of their obsession with biblical fairy stories!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39587226

    Tesco has apologised for any offence from a beer advertisement that claimed “Good Friday just got better”.

    The ad ran in some newspapers to promote “great offers on beer and cider” in the run-up to Easter.

    The supermarket said it would not run the ad again after it attracted criticism from some religious figures.

    Vicar and broadcaster, the Reverend Richard Coles, said the advert was “extraordinarily and unnecessarily ignorant”.

    Good Friday is when Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Some choose to mark the day by fasting, which can include abstaining from eating meat or drinking alcohol.

    There is some dispute about why it is called “good”, with some suggesting the day is “good” in that it is holy, and others that the phrase is a corruption of “God’s Friday”.

    A Tesco spokesperson told the BBC: “We know that Easter is an important time of the year for our customers.

    “It is never our intention to offend and we are sorry if any has been caused by this advert.”

    Tesco “got it badly wrong” with the “crass” advert, Michael Wakelin, from the faculty of divinity at Cambridge University, told BBC 5 live Daily.

    It was also a “decidedly poor way of treating such a holy day”, said Mr Wakelin, a former head of BBC religious programmes.

    “I’m sure there was no attempt to offend, I’m sure that wasn’t in their mind.

    “It is just religious illiteracy; ignorance if you like, around what religious people hold dear, and that is my main concern,” he added.

    Rev Coles said on Twitter that the advert “causes unnecessary offence to many. It didn’t need to.”

    However, other Twitter users felt the advert was not offensive.

    “Like it or not the Easter is also a secular holiday as well as a religious one.
    Most are travelling to families rather than to church,” one user wrote.

    Ēostre or Ostara (Old English, Northumbrian dialect, Old High German is a Germanic goddess who, by way of the Germanic month bearing her name is the namesake of the festival of Easter in some languages. A Proto-Indo-European *haéusōs ‘goddess of dawn’ who was characterized as a “reluctant” “”bringer of light for which she is punished**.

    Those darned Christians stole her festival and blasphemously substituted their triple “false gods”! 🙂 How insulting! 🙂
    It is just religious illiteracy; ignorance if you like – extraordinarily and unnecessarily ignorant 🙂
    Clearly, in the name of political correctness – THEY should apologise for this affront to Ēostre – and of course for their “offensive” projection of taking offence at other people’s normal celebrations in their self centred religious high dudgeon!
    The secular don’t care if some religious people want to celebrate by fasting and abstinence, but have no intension of joining in their delusional activities or letting kill-joys spoil the spring-time party!

  4. It is interesting that most religious people are so easily offended. Perhaps it is because their beliefs are so indefensible and obviously silly.

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