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Obama: religious freedom 'under threat'
President Barack Obama bows his head during a prayer at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service.
February 6th, 2014
10:56 AM ET

Obama: religious freedom 'under threat'

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama says that "around the world, freedom of religion is under threat."

And at the annual National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, the President also said he's looking forward to meeting Pope Francis.

"I'm especially looking forward to returning to the Vatican next month to meet his holiness, Pope Francis, whose message about caring for the least of these I hope all of us heed. Like (the Apostle) Matthew he has answered the call of Jesus, who said 'follow me' and he inspires us with his words and deeds, his humility and his mercy and his missionary impulses to serve the cause of social justice," Obama said.

The President touted the Pope's stance on inequality as he and congressional Democrats highlight the issue of income inequality. Obama met Francis' predecessor, Benedict XVI, in 2009. That meeting, which took place at the Vatican, was Obama's only meeting with a Pope.

Much of Obama's remarks focused on threats to religious freedom abroad, from China to Egypt to Sudan and Burma.

FULL STORY
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Discrimination • Faith • Foreign policy • Obama • Religious liberty • Religious violence • Tibet

soundoff (544 Responses)
  1. truth1914

    Those of the true religion realize that earthly governments don't support God's purpose for the earth, and that is why they are neutral in matter of politics in whatever country they may live. We abide by the laws of the land (that don't conflict with God's requirements) but our government is The Kingdom of God.

    (Ephesians 6:12) . . .have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments. . .

    (John 18:36) . . .“My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.”

    February 16, 2014 at 10:20 am |
    • igaftr

      It always amazes me how many people put the word truth in ther name and then state belief.
      Can't you differentiate belief from truth?

      February 16, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • truth1914

        It's not the name but the message that is important.

        (John 17:3) 3 This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ. . .

        February 16, 2014 at 10:39 am |
      • igaftr

        Still belief. There is no reason to believe that your book has any more validity than any of the other thousands of religions.
        You message was made by ignorant men over 2000 years ago, no sign of any gods involved.
        They could not imagine life the way it is now.
        Such a shame that the bible has been used to justify slavery, bigotry, wars, murders, attempted genocide, faster spread of disease, conflict and strife since its beginning.
        Another religion of "love" ...as long as you are a believer...if you are not we can force you to believe, or force our beliefs on you, and if you don't convert we can kill you justifiably.
        Christianity is such an immoral religion...you have to allow someone else to take your just punishment ( an immoral act in itself) in order to be "saved" from hell, a hell that god created in the first place....simply boggles the mind what beliefs people are taught, and then actually believe.

        February 16, 2014 at 10:49 am |
        • truth1914

          "Such a shame that the bible has been used to justify slavery, bigotry, wars, murders, attempted genocide, faster spread of disease, conflict and strife since its beginning."

          The 'true religion' has never done the atrocities you listed above. They believe:

          (Matthew 26:52) . . .all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.
          (Matthew 5:44) 44 However, I say to YOU: Continue to love YOUR enemies and to pray for those persecuting YOU. . .
          (Colossians 3:14) . . .But, besides all these things, [clothe yourselves with] love, for it is a perfect bond of union. . .

          This is what the 'true religion' believes and practices

          February 16, 2014 at 11:07 am |
        • truth1914

          “Many false prophets will arise and mislead many; and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.” (Matthew 24:11, 12) Jesus associated the increased lawlessness and the cooling off of love with the influence of false prophets—religious teachers who falsely claim to speak for God. Earlier, this book presented evidence that the clergy have backed the wars of the nations, belittled Bible standards of morality as being out of date, and labeled portions of the Bible as untrue. With what result? A ‘cooling off’ in love for God and his laws. This has been a major factor in the breakdown of morality, along with disregard for authority and lack of concern for one’s fellowman.—2 Timothy 3:1-5.
          23 Because of such conditions, millions have left religious organizations. Some turn to the Bible and conform to its ways. Others withdraw in disappointment and disgust. Many are becoming enemies of religion. One columnist said: “One cannot but be struck by how much of the world’s trouble is rooted in religion. And few secular political rivalries ever generate the bloodthirsty fervor of religious war.” In view of this, he asked: “Why not abolish religion?”49

          February 16, 2014 at 11:17 am |
        • igaftr

          "truth"
          Yes your religion has been used for ALL of those things and more.
          The No True Scotsman fallacy does not fly here.
          There are many who would claim you are not a christian for some difference in belief...all the more showing the evil of the bible. 40,000 versions of "true religion"...hilarious...and then the insult to ALL of the other religions.

          There are over 100 creator gods...there are over 400 "one true" gods...all made up by men, along with yours.
          Still no sign of any actual gods...a lot of signs that men like to make up gods to answer his own ignorance.

          February 16, 2014 at 11:18 am |
        • truth1914

          Your disbelief is not uncommon in today's world. I just hope that we continue to reach people who have an open mind and they benefit from having a close personal relationship with God.

          (Proverbs 27:11) 11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, that I may make a reply to him that is taunting me. . .

          February 16, 2014 at 11:30 am |
    • trees491a

      Always amazes me how so many believe that THEIR religion is the one and only TRUE religion when there have been, still are and will in the future be so many DIFFERENT religions. Best to focus on what we have in common. So far (although not all show it or live by example), that would seem to be love, compassion and humility.

      February 28, 2014 at 5:51 am |
  2. thesamyaza

    but the National Prayer Breakfast is a threat to freedom of religion

    February 14, 2014 at 9:34 pm |
  3. Joe

    Religious persecution was at an all time high in 2013. Freedom to practice one's faith is the hallmark of a civilized society. There is no room for the intolerance of such freedom in the 21st century. One of the basic human rights is violated when "religious freedom" is under attack.

    (Reuters) – About 100 million Christians are persecuted around the world, with conditions worsening for them most rapidly in Syria and Ethiopia, according to an annual report by a group supporting oppressed Christians worldwide.

    February 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
    • Joe

      Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year," Vatican spokesman Monsieur Silvano Maria Tomassi said Tuesday in a radio address to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

      "Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to ra_pe and to the abduction of their leaders, as it recently happened in the case of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, in Aleppo [Syria]," Tomassi said.

      February 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm |
    • Joe

      February 13, 2014 at 1:52 pm |
  4. johnn23

    February 11, 2014 at 10:35 pm |
  5. realityyyyyyy

    For added information on the Coe family's (Fellowship Foundation), see:

    http://www.eri-nonprofit-salaries.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=NPO.Summary&EIN=530204604&Cobrandid=0

    All of the Form 990's are referenced. From these, one can see the money said family makes from their "non-profit". Pay particular attention to the money received from government grants and the salary, travel and housing expenses.

    February 11, 2014 at 7:31 am |
  6. 9596tony

    Proud of the President for raising this issue at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

    Hope other church leaders, such as the Pope and others join actively in condemning acts of violence against people of faith and stand together in bringing peace and restoring religious freedom for the millions of men, women and children who are in the path of violence.

    February 10, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
  7. The Running Twit

    I'll bet Obama will come out as atheist by 2020!

    He looks like he hates talking about religion. always have to say he is not muslim, have to switch pastors.....

    February 10, 2014 at 11:47 am |
  8. Observer

    Observer
    The only posts that remain here are those posted by non-believers.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    niknak
    Completely not true.
    Mine, Akira's, Capt Oblivious and all the regular non believers have had most of their post deleted.
    A few believers got whacked too, but only because they were in the vine of the non believer.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    It isn't believer vs. non-believer.
    Pages and pages of comments are disappearing from everyone.
    The reason my long comment is there at the moment is because I've reposted it no fewer than 5 times today – and I suspect it will again have abuse reported on it within minutes.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    and the aforementioned comment has already had abuse reported.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Bob
    Good observation,If you scroll down there is not one post that was made those supporting religious freedom and there were quite a few earlier today.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Observer
    That's right, saw a few posts yesterday and there were many posted by those supporting "religious freedom" this morning.

    It can't be a coincidence that all those posts disappeared and the ones below are the only ones remaining.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    The abuse reports are from a troll – not a vindictive atheist or believer.
    My "thank you for the reply" message to Daniel Burke has been removed too!

    Tell me what could possible be construed as offensive, atheistic, heretical or whatnot about:

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Perhaps it may be time to see about a re-design of the comment section...."

    February 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Cpt. Obvious
    Then your blog is fvcking broken, dipsh!t. Get off your lazy azz and do your job. Fix it.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Believer
    I am a believer of the God of money,Therefore I expect not to be moderated,or else I will complain to the president

    February 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Observer
    It's definitely the handiwork of one of these whose posts are below.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    Maybe the 11th re-post will be a charm.
    Seriously- what kind of person is insecure and/or immature enough to Troll through like this?
    If you've got a problem with people's posts, reply to them and elucidate your objections!

    And what of freedom FROM religion?
    Some examples of discrimination by the religious against non-believers:

    In Djibouti, citizens must register their religion to be married. "Atheist" is not recognized, ergo atheists cannot be legally married.

    Equatorial Guinea gives official preferential treatment to Catholics, such as exemptions from airport entry taxes.

    Eritrea recognized only 4 religions, Islam and 3 Christian denominations.
    To leave the country, citizens must get an exit Visa from the Office of Religious Affairs which arrests applicants on the spot for being non-religious (or for practicing an unrecognized faith).

    In Ethiopia, it is against the law to defame religion.

    In Sudan, you can get up to 6 months in jail and be flogged for blasphemy.
    Apostacy (abandoning Islam) is punishable by death.

    Zambia has mandatory Christian education in their public shcools for all students through grade 7.

    In Indonesia, persons who do not identify with one of the six official religions (Islam, Cathoilc, Protestant, Confucian, Buddhism, Hindu), including people with no religion, to experience official discrimination in the context ofcivil registration of marriages and births and other situations involving family law.

    Section 188 of the Austrian Criminal Code,called ‘Vilification of Religious Teachings’, criminalizes “Anyone who publicly disparages a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine".

    In Bavaria, Catholic bishops have the right to veto the nomination of a professor of theology, philosophy, pedagogy and sociology/political science at state universities if the candidate does not entertain the standpoint of the Catholic Church.

    Article 198 of the Greek Penal Code states that “1. One who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years; 2. Anyone, except as described in par.1, who displays publicly with blasphemy a lack of respect for things divine, is punished with up to 3 months in prison. ” Article 199 states that “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerable in Greece shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.”

    In Italy, blasphemy is considered as an "administrative offense" and punished with a fine.
    Administrative law requires that all classrooms in state schools display crucifixes.

    The Church of England (C of E) is granted privileged access to the British Parliament. The 26 most senior C of E Bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of Parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They are unaccountable to the public.

    When applying for a Pakistani passport, applicants must state their religion. “No Religion” is not accepted as an answer.

    At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

    February 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Maybe the 10th re-post will be a charm.

    And what of freedom FROM religion?
    Some examples of discrimination by the religious against non-believers:

    In Djibouti, citizens must register their religion to be married. "Atheist" is not recognized, ergo atheists cannot be legally married.

    Equatorial Guinea gives official preferential treatment to Catholics, such as exemptions from airport entry taxes.

    Eritrea recognized only 4 religions, Islam and 3 Christian denominations.
    To leave the country, citizens must get an exit Visa from the Office of Religious Affairs which arrests applicants on the spot for being non-religious (or for practicing an unrecognized faith).

    In Ethiopia, it is against the law to defame religion.

    In Sudan, you can get up to 6 months in jail and be flogged for blasphemy.
    Apostacy (abandoning Islam) is punishable by death.

    Zambia has mandatory Christian education in their public shcools for all students through grade 7.

    In Indonesia, persons who do not identify with one of the six official religions (Islam, Cathoilc, Protestant, Confucian, Buddhism, Hindu), including people with no religion, to experience official discrimination in the context ofcivil registration of marriages and births and other situations involving family law.

    Section 188 of the Austrian Criminal Code,called ‘Vilification of Religious Teachings’, criminalizes “Anyone who publicly disparages a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine".

    In Bavaria, Catholic bishops have the right to veto the nomination of a professor of theology, philosophy, pedagogy and sociology/political science at state universities if the candidate does not entertain the standpoint of the Catholic Church.

    Article 198 of the Greek Penal Code states that “1. One who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years; 2. Anyone, except as described in par.1, who displays publicly with blasphemy a lack of respect for things divine, is punished with up to 3 months in prison. ” Article 199 states that “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerable in Greece shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.”

    In Italy, blasphemy is considered as an "administrative offense" and punished with a fine.
    Administrative law requires that all classrooms in state schools display crucifixes.

    The Church of England (C of E) is granted privileged access to the British Parliament. The 26 most senior C of E Bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of Parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They are unaccountable to the public.

    When applying for a Pakistani passport, applicants must state their religion. “No Religion” is not accepted as an answer.

    At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

    February 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm |
  11. Observer

    Observer
    The only posts that remain here are those posted by non-believers.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    niknak
    Completely not true.
    Mine, Akira's, Capt Oblivious and all the regular non believers have had most of their post deleted.
    A few believers got whacked too, but only because they were in the vine of the non believer.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    It isn't believer vs. non-believer.
    Pages and pages of comments are disappearing from everyone.
    The reason my long comment is there at the moment is because I've reposted it no fewer than 5 times today – and I suspect it will again have abuse reported on it within minutes.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    and the aforementioned comment has already had abuse reported.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Bob
    Good observation,If you scroll down there is not one post that was made those supporting religious freedom and there were quite a few earlier today.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Observer
    That's right, saw a few posts yesterday and there were many posted by those supporting "religious freedom" this morning.

    It can't be a coincidence that all those posts disappeared and the ones below are the only ones remaining.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    The abuse reports are from a troll – not a vindictive atheist or believer.
    My "thank you for the reply" message to Daniel Burke has been removed too!

    Tell me what could possible be construed as offensive, atheistic, heretical or whatnot about:

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Perhaps it may be time to see about a re-design of the comment section...."

    February 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Cpt. Obvious
    Then your blog is fvcking broken, dipsh!t. Get off your lazy azz and do your job. Fix it.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Believer
    I am a believer of the God of money,Therefore I expect not to be moderated,or else I will complain to the president

    February 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Observer
    It's definitely the handiwork of one of these whose post are below.
    February 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm |
  12. Observer

    Observer
    The only posts that remain here are those posted by non-believers.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    niknak
    Completely not true.
    Mine, Akira's, Capt Oblivious and all the regular non believers have had most of their post deleted.
    A few believers got whacked too, but only because they were in the vine of the non believer.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    It isn't believer vs. non-believer.
    Pages and pages of comments are disappearing from everyone.
    The reason my long comment is there at the moment is because I've reposted it no fewer than 5 times today – and I suspect it will again have abuse reported on it within minutes.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    and the aforementioned comment has already had abuse reported.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Bob
    Good observation,If you scroll down there is not one post that was made those supporting religious freedom and there were quite a few earlier today.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Observer
    That's right, saw a few posts yesterday and there were many posted by those supporting "religious freedom" this morning.

    It can't be a coincidence that all those posts disappeared and the ones below are the only ones remaining.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Doc Vestibule
    The abuse reports are from a troll – not a vindictive atheist or believer.
    My "thank you for the reply" message to Daniel Burke has been removed too!

    Tell me what could possible be construed as offensive, atheistic, heretical or whatnot about:

    "Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Perhaps it may be time to see about a re-design of the comment section...."

    February 7, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Cpt. Obvious
    Then your blog is fvcking broken, dipsh!t. Get off your lazy azz and do your job. Fix it.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Believer
    I am a believer of the God of money,Therefore I expect not to be moderated,or else I will complain to the president

    February 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    Observer
    It's definitely the handiwork of one of these whose post are below.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply

    February 7, 2014 at 1:37 pm |
  13. Doc Vestibule

    A TEST:
    Rainer has posted a Christian perspective on the story.
    I am re-posting (for the 6th or 7th time) a non-believer perspective now. When the dust settles, we shall see which, if either, remain.

    And what of freedom FROM religion?
    Some examples of discrimination by the religious against non-believers:

    In Djibouti, citizens must register their religion to be married. "Atheist" is not recognized, ergo atheists cannot be legally married.

    Equatorial Guinea gives official preferential treatment to Catholics, such as exemptions from airport entry taxes.

    Eritrea recognized only 4 religions, Islam and 3 Christian denominations.
    To leave the country, citizens must get an exit Visa from the Office of Religious Affairs which arrests applicants on the spot for being non-religious (or for practicing an unrecognized faith).

    In Ethiopia, it is against the law to defame religion.

    In Sudan, you can get up to 6 months in jail and be flogged for blasphemy.
    Apostacy (abandoning Islam) is punishable by death.

    Zambia has mandatory Christian education in their public shcools for all students through grade 7.

    In Indonesia, persons who do not identify with one of the six official religions (Islam, Cathoilc, Protestant, Confucian, Buddhism, Hindu), including people with no religion, to experience official discrimination in the context ofcivil registration of marriages and births and other situations involving family law.

    Section 188 of the Austrian Criminal Code,called ‘Vilification of Religious Teachings’, criminalizes “Anyone who publicly disparages a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine".

    In Bavaria, Catholic bishops have the right to veto the nomination of a professor of theology, philosophy, pedagogy and sociology/political science at state universities if the candidate does not entertain the standpoint of the Catholic Church.

    Article 198 of the Greek Penal Code states that “1. One who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years; 2. Anyone, except as described in par.1, who displays publicly with blasphemy a lack of respect for things divine, is punished with up to 3 months in prison. ” Article 199 states that “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerable in Greece shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.”

    In Italy, blasphemy is considered as an "administrative offense" and punished with a fine.
    Administrative law requires that all classrooms in state schools display crucifixes.

    The Church of England (C of E) is granted privileged access to the British Parliament. The 26 most senior C of E Bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of Parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They are unaccountable to the public.

    When applying for a Pakistani passport, applicants must state their religion. “No Religion” is not accepted as an answer.

    At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
  14. Doc Vestibule

    Deletion trolls are really annoying.

    And what of freedom FROM religion?
    Some examples of discrimination by the religious against non-believers:

    In Djibouti, citizens must register their religion to be married. "Atheist" is not recognized, ergo atheists cannot be legally married.

    Equatorial Guinea gives official preferential treatment to Catholics, such as exemptions from airport entry taxes.

    Eritrea recognized only 4 religions, Islam and 3 Christian denominations.
    To leave the country, citizens must get an exit Visa from the Office of Religious Affairs which arrests applicants on the spot for being non-religious (or for practicing an unrecognized faith).

    In Ethiopia, it is against the law to defame religion.

    In Sudan, you can get up to 6 months in jail and be flogged for blasphemy.
    Apostacy (abandoning Islam) is punishable by death.

    Zambia has mandatory Christian education in their public shcools for all students through grade 7.

    In Indonesia, persons who do not identify with one of the six official religions (Islam, Cathoilc, Protestant, Confucian, Buddhism, Hindu), including people with no religion, to experience official discrimination in the context ofcivil registration of marriages and births and other situations involving family law.

    Section 188 of the Austrian Criminal Code,called ‘Vilification of Religious Teachings’, criminalizes “Anyone who publicly disparages a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine".

    In Bavaria, Catholic bishops have the right to veto the nomination of a professor of theology, philosophy, pedagogy and sociology/political science at state universities if the candidate does not entertain the standpoint of the Catholic Church.

    Article 198 of the Greek Penal Code states that “1. One who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years; 2. Anyone, except as described in par.1, who displays publicly with blasphemy a lack of respect for things divine, is punished with up to 3 months in prison. ” Article 199 states that “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerable in Greece shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.”

    In Italy, blasphemy is considered as an "administrative offense" and punished with a fine.
    Administrative law requires that all classrooms in state schools display crucifixes.

    The Church of England (C of E) is granted privileged access to the British Parliament. The 26 most senior C of E Bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of Parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They are unaccountable to the public.

    When applying for a Pakistani passport, applicants must state their religion. “No Religion” is not accepted as an answer.

    At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

    February 7, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
  15. Doc Vestibule

    FACTS ARE NOT ABUSE. QUIT REPORTING ABUSE ON COMMENTS

    And what of freedom FROM religion?
    Some examples of discrimination by the religious against non-believers:

    In Djibouti, citizens must register their religion to be married. "Atheist" is not recognized, ergo atheists cannot be legally married.

    Equatorial Guinea gives official preferential treatment to Catholics, such as exemptions from airport entry taxes.

    Eritrea recognized only 4 religions, Islam and 3 Christian denominations.
    To leave the country, citizens must get an exit Visa from the Office of Religious Affairs which arrests applicants on the spot for being non-religious (or for practicing an unrecognized faith).

    In Ethiopia, it is against the law to defame religion.

    In Sudan, you can get up to 6 months in jail and be flogged for blasphemy.
    Apostacy (abandoning Islam) is punishable by death.

    Zambia has mandatory Christian education in their public shcools for all students through grade 7.

    In Indonesia, persons who do not identify with one of the six official religions (Islam, Cathoilc, Protestant, Confucian, Buddhism, Hindu), including people with no religion, to experience official discrimination in the context ofcivil registration of marriages and births and other situations involving family law.

    Section 188 of the Austrian Criminal Code,called ‘Vilification of Religious Teachings’, criminalizes “Anyone who publicly disparages a person or thing that is the object of worship of a domestic church or religious society, or a doctrine".

    In Bavaria, Catholic bishops have the right to veto the nomination of a professor of theology, philosophy, pedagogy and sociology/political science at state universities if the candidate does not entertain the standpoint of the Catholic Church.

    Article 198 of the Greek Penal Code states that “1. One who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years; 2. Anyone, except as described in par.1, who displays publicly with blasphemy a lack of respect for things divine, is punished with up to 3 months in prison. ” Article 199 states that “one who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerable in Greece shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years.”

    In Italy, blasphemy is considered as an "administrative offense" and punished with a fine.
    Administrative law requires that all classrooms in state schools display crucifixes.

    The Church of England (C of E) is granted privileged access to the British Parliament. The 26 most senior C of E Bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of Parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They are unaccountable to the public.

    When applying for a Pakistani passport, applicants must state their religion. “No Religion” is not accepted as an answer.

    At least seven states–Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas–have in place const.itutional provisions that bar atheists from holding public office. One state (Arkansas) even has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.

    February 7, 2014 at 11:57 am |
  16. Doc Vestibule

    DANIEL BURKE !!
    Can you please clarify whether the huge swaths of deleted comments on this story are becuase of Editor moderation or an automatic response to user abuse reporting?

    As this comment is likely to disappear in seconds, I invite you to email me directly.
    huey_vestibule@hotmail.com

    February 7, 2014 at 11:55 am |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      I have nothing to do with it. I suspect it's the automatic response to people reporting abuse.

      February 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Thanks for the reply.

        Perhaps it may be time to see about a re-design of the comment section....

        February 7, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
        • Pete

          The deletion of comments has been going on for a very long time and they haven't done anything about it. They need to get a system where you have to log in to post with a legitimate email address. It could help stop the stealing of handles and all the other deletion issues.

          February 10, 2014 at 12:20 pm |
  17. ~

    And what about your buddy in Saudi Arabia? He's sooo tolerant, isn't he?

    February 7, 2014 at 11:41 am |
  18. myweightinwords

    Seriously?

    February 7, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  19. ???

    We get it. You're a troll, no better than L.

    February 6, 2014 at 3:46 pm |
    • Angry Inch

      Incorrect, I mean what I side 100%. Who is "L"?

      February 6, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
  20. backbik

    @JB

    too much unnecessary capitalization; too much BS

    February 6, 2014 at 12:56 pm |

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.