The US gets a ‘moderate’ ranking on protecting religious freedoms

Jan 28, 2014

A clock and the motto “In God We Trust” over the Speaker’s rostrum in the U.S. House of Representatives chamber are seen December 8, 2008 in Washington, DC. ; Credit: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

The United States may have freedom of religion enshrined into our Constitution, but a new report from the Pew Research Center shows that we may not be doing the best job of protecting those freedoms.

According to the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project, the United States places a “moderate” level of restrictions on religious practice compared to the other countries in the world.

The study scores 198 countries based on their tolerance for religious freedom. Countries either get a “high”, “moderate” or “low” ranking depending on how friendly they are to religious diversity. According to the study, hostility towards religion in the US shot up in 2009 and remains at an elevated level.

Those restrictions include both at the governmental level and “social attitudes”, which encompass negative or violent attitudes towards religion. Globally, religious hostilities have reached a six-year high with the sharpest increases in North Africa and the Middle East. In Asia, China claimed a spot in the “high” category for the first time.

How exactly is ‘religious hostility’ calculated? Is the United States doing enough to protect religious freedoms? Do you feel your religion is being encroached or repressed here in California?


Brian Grim, senior researcher in religion and world affairs at the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project

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