Pew Forum: Religious Liberty is in Decline Worldwide

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports the following on the effect of the Arab Spring on religious liberty:

At the onset of the Arab Spring in late 2010 and early 2011, many world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, expressed hope that the political uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa would lead to greater freedoms for the people of the region, including fewer restrictions on religious beliefs and practices. But a new study by the Pew Research Center finds that the region’s already high overall level of restrictions on religion – whether resulting from government policies or from social hostilities – continued to increase in 2011.

As numerous articles have reported, the number of Christians in the region continues to plunge, both because of the Arab Spring and because of the policies of regimes established by the United States after the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

But what makes the report interesting is that the increase in restrictions on religion is even greater outside of the Middle East:

The Americas, Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific region all had increases in overall restrictions on religion in 2011….

Because some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, more than 5.1 billion people (74%) were living in countries with high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion, the brunt of which often falls on religious minorities.

You can read the whole Pew Report here.


About Matthew J. Tuininga

Matthew J. Tuininga is the Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted on June 21, 2013, in Religious Liberty and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Pew Forum: Religious Liberty is in Decline Worldwide.

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