Spike in religious restrictions in U.S. and world, Pew Center finds
Alleged Fort Hood killer Nidal Hasan was recently forced to shave his beard to appear in a military court.
September 20th, 2012
03:25 PM ET

Spike in religious restrictions in U.S. and world, Pew Center finds

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

(CNN) - Restrictions on religion spiked throughout the world between mid-2009 and 2010, including in the United States, says a new study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The U.S. was among 16 countries, including Switzerland, where hostilities jumped during that time period. Pew examined 197 countries, assigning a score between from zero to 10.

Zero represents the least restrictive and 10 the most. There are two categories - governmentally restrictive and socially restrictive.

To answer the questions that make up the indexes, Pew Forum researchers combed through 19 widely cited, publicly available sources of information, including reports by the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, the Council of the European Union, the United Kingdom's Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, Freedom House and Amnesty International.

None of the countries in the study got a zero.

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Of the 25 most populous countries examined, Brazil and Japan ranked the best in government restrictions.

The worst countries in both categories include Russia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan and India.

But it's the ranking of the United States that was particularly surprising to researcher Brian Grim.

"These were surprising findings because the U.S. (and Switzerland) are not countries where we've typically seen these levels of hostilities," he said, referring to two previous studies Pew did on the topic - research that characterized the U.S. as more tolerant to different religious expressions.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The U.S. had previously scored a two, according to Grim. The newest study gives it a 3.4.

Grim said it's important to keep in mind that the 2009-2010 time-frame doesn't account for recent events which he said could have given the U.S. an even worse score, such as the August killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

The study does however take into account a "number of reports involving people who were prevented from wearing religious attire, like beards, in the judicial settings and prison," he said.

There were also more reported restrictions on zoning permits to expand or build religious centers.

In 2009, Muslims living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, saw construction of a new community center and mosque vandalized and then torched.

In Colorado in 2010, an appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that Boulder County commissioners discriminated against the Rocky Mountain Christian Church by denying it permits to expand its school and worship facilities, although commissioners had issued permits to a nearby secular school for a similar expansion, Pew found.

Pew culled from numerous sources, including various government reports and data from the Department of Justice.

Grim said a spike in religion-related terror attacks in the U.S. influenced the country's score. He pointed to the December 2009 attempt by a Nigerian Islamist to blow up an airliner arriving in Detroit, Michigan, and the Times Square attempted bombing in New York by a Pakistani-American who observed extremist Islam.

Pew also took into account the 2009 killings at Fort Hood. The alleged killer, an Army psychiatrist who had turned to radical Islam, was recently forced to shave his beard to appear in a military court.

Also in 2010, Oklahoma banned Islam's Sharia law in 2010. The change to Oklahoma's state law passed a statewide vote, but a federal appeals court struck down the amendment in January 2012, saying it violated the First Amendment.

Pew also wrote that "social hostilities" in the U.S. reflects an increase in reported religion-related workplace discrimination complaints.

Complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rose from 3,386 in the fiscal year ending on September 30, 2009, to 3,790 in the year ending on September 30, 2010.

The number of cases that the EEOC determined had "reasonable cause" rose from 136 to 314 during that period.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Abdullo

    PEW Report –> Garbage In Garbage Out.

    September 20, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  2. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    What's wrong with banning Sharia Law? The US is not and never will be a !@#$ing Muslim country, so it is NOT APPLICABLE! Not to mention that all religions are stupid and make-believe, so any laws based on them should be banned, PERIOD!

    September 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Abdullo

      That's exactly what these liberals want, you to react. They will call you anti-muslim, anti-arab, while behind the screen pushing their hidden liberal agendas.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      But try to push Puritanical (Christian) laws on me (like thou shalt not dance or thou shalt not listen to rock music or spit on the sidewalk, etc.) and I will have the same reaction.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i'm an atheist liberal. i would love to ban sharia law. AND christian law. ALL religious law. more specifically, our laws should have zero to do with any religion. our laws should be secular and just. practice religion at home, or your church/mosque/temple, but don't expect to practice it in our courtrooms.

      September 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • cosmicc

      Banning Sharia is meaningless in the legal context. There is no reason to ban any law other than US or State law because they have no legal standing. The only purpose to banning Sharia is to ban Islam. If they can ban Islam, they can ban any religion.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  3. Bootyfunk

    they call it restricting religion when we take the 10 commandments our of our courthouse - where it never should have been.
    they call it restricting religion when we teach evolution (which has mountains of evidence to back it up) instead of creationism (which has ZERO evidence to back it up).
    they call it restricting religion when insurance companies of catholic organizations have to offer birth control - which most people consider basic medical coverage.

    christians cry and cry when when their religion isn't promoted above all other faith choices. they cry when a cross is removed from somewhere it never should have been. they will boohoo some more when God is taken off our money one day. but a people want to build a mosque, they protest. when a sign promoting atheism goes up, they fight to have it taken down. if another faith, ANY other faith, were taught in school, christians would go absolutely bonkers - yet they will fight to have christian ideas taught in school and cry foul when it's not. talk about hypocrites.

    go cry in a corner, christians. this isn't a theocracy. christianity, like all religions, is a cult. cults are not healthy. they teach you to turn off your brain. leave the cult - think for yourself. you will be much happier.

    September 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Deeter

      Good post, Bootyfunk!

      September 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      I agree with my friend -Deeter. Great post !


      September 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Deeter

      If you are seen agreeing with me, someone might kill random strangers! Beware! 😯

      September 20, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Woody

      Bootyfunk, you are the well deserved recipient of the "I hit the nail on the head" award.

      September 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • MDAT

      You hit the spot.Best comment I have seen on CNN.

      September 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      LOL ! 😀


      September 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Amen to the Booty! That's what everyone needs to hear!

      September 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • billdeacons

      The point you are missing is that the increase in restriction and hostility isn't simply aimed at Christians. It is pan-religious. Your bigotry towards all religion is showing, specifically towards Christian judging by your post. The fact that you are applauded by your "peers" here only indicates the accuraqcy of the report and the overall ignorance of most people when it comes to the value of religion in western civilization.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • A Christian

      Bootyfunk, You do know that our country of founded on Christianity? Do you think its a coincidence that our country is going down the tubes as the number of people involved with Christianity have dropped every year since the 50's.

      Religion is a tool for man to get closer to Jesus. I'm a Christian but I'm not part of a religion. Real Christianity is about your relationship with Jesus and nothing else.

      God Bless!

      September 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Tom Paine

      @ A Christian - Can we please stop the misinformation about the U.S. being founded on Christianity? It wasn't. It is a product of The Enlightenment, which wrested power from monarchs and the church and placed it in the hands of the governed. This is not a Christian nation; it is a nation with a Christian majority, where the right to practice that religion (or any other religion, or no religion at all) is protected by secular law.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • old ben

      "A Christian" posted: "You do know that our country of founded on Christianity?"

      Lol. Idiot. No it wasn't you dopey dope tardey tard. It was founded on freedom. Despite their individual leanings the founders felt strongly enough that the nation was not to be founded on any religion – they together, ratified our Const!tution and made the very first amendment to ensure that religion would not be any part of government. People today are feeling more and more that the founders did the right thing by making that first amendment the first priority of business. Today we are just becoming smarter in applying and enforcing the 1st amendment to overcome slip-ups in the past that were a mistake cause by tradition, the dark side of pride, etc. etc.

      September 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • edweird69

      Bootyfunk – it's posts like this that make me such a fan of yours. You rock dude!

      September 20, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Tereza De La Rosa

      "You do know that our country of founded on Christianity?"

      "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." Article 11, Treaty of Tripoli.

      Also, the founders were mostly deists, not christians.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:10 am |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @A Christian

      I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon that has been tearing down your assertion that the US was somehow founded as a Christian Nation. I'll just say, I hope you have learned a valuable history lesson here today, that's it.

      September 21, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One


      @ A Christian
      You do know that our country of founded on Christianity?

      Actually it wasn’t. Many of the founding fathers were deist and Free Masons, only a few were Christian. OUR, country…was founded on personal freedom. If you want people to stop acting like Christians are ignorant sheep that believe w./e their pastor tells them…stop acting like it.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  4. therealpeace2all

    Reblogged this on peace2alldotme.

    September 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      September 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      September 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • mike

      The problem with prayer is that even if it's true that God created the heavens and the earth, you still don't know who created God. The bible never says who created God. You can still pray, but you'll never know if you're praying to the creator who can answer your prayer.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • mike

      Actually Jesus, based on your post, the "Prayer Changes Things" poster person is correct. Prayer changed things by giving false hope to people to such a degree that their life was changed into death by relying on prayer.

      By the way, I've never seen any non-human animals thay pray.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      actions cause change; prayer wastes valuable time.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • A Christian

      @ Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Remember as Christians we do not judge! We can educate and sew the seed but we don't judge.

      And prayer does change things and I have proof!

      God Bless

      September 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Born Again

      @Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Remember as Christians we do not judge! We can educate and plant the seed but we don't judge.

      And prayer does change things and I have proof!

      God Bless

      September 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • cosmicc

      Yes, it gives you peace because you believe. Whether or not your belief is real is irrelevant. Prayer works for you the same way chocolate works for me. Inner peace is inner peace. Why bring the supernatural into it?

      September 21, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  6. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    In the Gnostic Gospels, Peter and Matthew are depicted as unable to understand Jesus’ message, most likely due to his deafness. While the other disciples took the time to learn sign language, such as it was, Peter and Matthew did not find this to be important.

    Scholars have interpreted this as a criticism against the school of Christianity associated with the Gospel of Matthew where Matthew writes, “…our Lord, be He holy and impressive is challenging. He challenges us in mind and patience.”

    September 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Dr. Donnel Johnson

      Hello, Doc. ! 😉

      " Jesus tells us in the Gnostic Gospels that his father and mother "have not spaketh a single word in two years plus three. This sounds like a man scorned to me. "

      No, sorry Doc... they were madly in love and using aramaic sign language.

      " Is it possible Joseph never forgave Mary for her affair, and Joseph and Jesus were competing for Mary Magdalene’s affection? "

      Well, yes... but this is common knowledge. Dr. Sigmund Freud wrote extensively about this in his book: "Jesus and Joseph were competing for Mary Magdalene's affection"

      Good read.


      September 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • sam

      Dr Johnson,

      Have you been conferring with Drs Crockett and Tubbs recently? I think they were looking for you.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • therealpeace2all


      I think you and I are probably the only 2 that know of the good Docs... hmm.... "vices" 😉


      September 20, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson


      Hello there. I am glad you enjoy my work. Please read my many other revelations as you have time and reply. I enjoy your discourse very much indeed.

      I am in fact, a Miami Dolphins fan. How very intuitive of you sir!

      September 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      peace2 & sam,

      That Don Johnson's real name is "Donnie Wayne Johnson" - doubt it's this guy.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
  7. hippypoet

    the worlds religions have enjoyed a long run of powerwielding and now its time anothers thumb is upon them. The religions of the world are not above the law of any country but infact are at the whim at them. time they understand "THAT" reality over their make belief one!

    September 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • CS

      You still bogarting the Glen Fiddich??

      September 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • hippypoet

      lol always. surprised you are still here. i show only every few weeks now. there is no hope for debate so i just post thoughts and leave it normally. its a rare day i stay to defend my post anymore. just no point in it.

      September 20, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • CS

      I hear you. I just play around these day. The blog is just full of people who like to hear themselves talk. No one even reads anythng anymore. Hope you are well!! Pass the dutchie on the left hand side!!

      September 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i am well, thank you. i hope the same for you.

      in the awesome words of He-man ....Safe journey my friend.

      September 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  8. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    Jesus tells us in the Gnostic Gospels that his father and mother "have not spaketh a single word in two years plus three. This sounds like a man scorned to me.

    How can we prove marital troubles in the home of Jesus? Reading from Mary (Magdalene), she says, "when Joseph's gaze met mine I felt a burning deep within...." She goes on to discuss Jesus' jealousy and rage.

    Is it possible Joseph never forgave Mary for her affair, and Joseph and Jesus were competing for Mary Magdalene’s affection?

    September 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  9. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    In the Jesus Gospel he discusses long journeys east of the desert where, "....there I encountered great wisdom and peace among the monks. They removed the sand from my sandals and blew upon my feet with flowered breath"

    He goes on to say that, "...we meditated together for many days, fasting but joyful in the divine and always mindful of odor."

    As a matter of fact as I pointed earlier, he brought these teachings to his 12 plus Mary and his parents saying, "...know me and know the many lives of the snake, the lizard, and the beasts of all previous lives. Mine is the journey of a God. Perfection can be found through self-sacrifice."

    This is well doc.u.mented but sadly, few too people understand that Jesus was no more a rabbi than me.
    He was a monk, and according to Timothy, an enthusiastic nudist. "...without concern nor bashfulness, the fullness of our Lord cannot be contained by his tunic."

    September 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Dr. Donnel Johnson,

      It's difficult to tell whether you are presenting a parody of Gnosticism or if you really believe it, but there are a whole bunch of people who do, so I suppose that we are learning something here.

      September 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      @Frayed – Ask me anything my friend.

      For example, did you know that in the Gospel of Thomas, it is written that Jesus relied heavily on Thomas saying, "...it is a weary day dream that Thomas earns great victory in quenching the thirst of my people."

      It was incorrectly translated from the Coptic to mean that "Thomas the Contender" was a champion for Jesus, when in fact; Jesus was referring to Thomas' ability to mix wine-based c.o.cktails! We often joke that he should have been called, "Thomas the Bartender".

      September 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  10. Reality

    The simple, save and peaceful solution:

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh/”google” on religion to include Mormonism:

    • As far as anyone knows, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • Ditto for Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    September 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops, make that "the simple, safe and peaceful solution."

      September 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • mike

      Who created God?

      Even if everything in the bible is true, it does not say who created God or how God was created. Maybe this will be explained in the next edition.

      September 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • cosmicc

      @Reality, your simplistic approach does not help our cause. Picking on archetypical figures and saying they're not real does nothing to dispell the core teachings of any of these religions. You need to show that we atheists have a moral center without the belief in the supernatural.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Reality

      Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

      "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As does Biden and Ryan)

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
      Some added references to "tink-erbells".


      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      For added information see the review at:


      September 21, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  11. oh well..

    oh yes.. no more restrictions on shoving their ideologies down others throats.. there should be no restrictions on pushing their hate agenda and discrimination onto others either..

    when do people understand that the other side of the coin for "freedom of religion" is "freedom FROM religion".. quite conveniently forgotten by these so called "centers"

    September 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  12. Bill Deacon

    Shinto and Buddhism

    September 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      We know that Jesus was a practicing Buddhist monk, not a rabbi.

      We know that Jesus was married.

      We know that Jesus was a bit of a free spirit and had a volatile temper.

      We know that the so called "missionary position" was so named after Jesus walked in on Mary Magdalene and Joseph having relations. He condemned their activities saying, "...you have soiled my sheets, you have confused my mission and compromised my position."

      September 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  13. Sam Yaza


    J@p@n isn't that one of the only atheist countries in the world

    September 20, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      or does the tolerance extend from, the Shinto heritage, you know with Amaterasu excepting all regardless of the path in life, and asking nothing them. yup true unconditional love, your a rapist, a killer a child molester, or worse a Christian, guess what Amaterasu loves you and will shin on you, you can even cures her name she hugs you still.

      September 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Sam Yaza


      September 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent Army

      Sam Yaza you still follow the lies of satan. When will join me and walk with Jesus?



      September 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      Satan,.... i cant stand that guy, watch me kick his @ss


      September 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  14. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    The ‘restrictions’ in the U.S. are actually separation of church and state finally being observed again. Returning government run inst.itution back to NEUTRALITY. There is also the perception many Christians have that by extending equality to others it somehow ‘restricts’ Xtians religious liberties. In other words if everything around them isn’t awash in Christendom they are being ‘persecuted’.

    September 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Deeter

      Exactly! Well said!

      September 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Deeter

      Wait...that's not all of it exactly. The study examined all sorts of "restrictions" not just the ones stopping religious violations of the First Amendment, so while your idea is correct as far as it goes, there were many more restrictions between religious groups and not necessarily just the separation thing. But I liked your post anyway. You write very well, "other one".

      September 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So you are imputing the Pew Instiitute with a Christian bias? That's a bit of a stretch isn't it?

      September 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • old ben

      good point, L'autre.

      September 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Christianity is a mental disease- FACT

      Right on Tom

      September 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Lisa

      Who besides Christians sit in "pew" anyway? 🙂

      September 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • billdeacons

      LOL Lisa, please don't join the ignorant crowd who think that the Pew instiitute is religioously based. Get a clue honey before you comment

      September 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • cosmicc

      Why are they called pews anyway. They're just benches.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      No Bill, I’m actually speaking in a general sense. Hence Deeter’s second comment. Xtians in general are the ones who complain about ‘restrictions’. Your as.sumption does somewhat imply a bias on your part though.

      September 21, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  15. petemg

    Why is when people are starving and homeless they turn to churches. The government apparently does not care. Too bad many of you only have faith in the government. Stamp out religion via education is a form of brain washing. That is okay though because what is occurring now in the world was prophesied in THE HOLY BIBLE OVER 2,000 YEARS AGO. God gave us all free will to do as we wish. We do not have to have fear of persecution. If we are persecuted we do so with the knowledge of eternal life. And are you people so fearful of the Bible and creation because you know that you will answer to the things you do. God alone is the great judge. Just remember all things happen in God's time.

    September 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Thank you for supporting my point.

      September 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • nojinx

      They only sometimes turn to churches. They often turn to homeless programs, charity kitchen and government programs. It likely depends on where you live. If you life in a place where churches dominate and get most of the charitable contributions of the community, churches will likely provide the most food to the hungry.

      September 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • TR6

      " God gave us all free will to do as we wish."

      That means god will not do anything to protect you from criminals, murderers… because that would interfere with their free will. So your prayers are useless and your god is impotent

      September 20, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  16. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    We should restrict religious institutions and their activities just as we restrict gambling and other vices. Implement taxes, regulations and oversight to limit the harm they can do.

    September 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  17. William Demuth

    About time!

    These damn cults had Carte Blanch for two centuries.

    Fight them in the courts, fight them in the schools and fight them in the streets.

    Pit one cult against another, foment defections and sue them into extinction!

    September 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  18. Grand Ole Party of Christian Taliban

    Religion is a mental illness of ignorance that must be stamped out through "education"

    In time......

    September 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  19. Limper

    This article is a mess. What is a "religious restriction?" There's one example of a Church not being able to expand its facilities, but nothing here tells us what the polls considered a religious restriction to be.

    September 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Lisa

      Maybe they mean cases like those cheerleaders not being able to put bible verses on their field banners anymore? You know, separation of church and state stuff.

      September 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • cosmicc

      I agree that the article is poorly written and lacking in detail, but I doubt that enforcing separation of church and state is seen as a restriction on religion. In fact I'm sure the opposite is true.

      September 21, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  20. Deeter

    Some people never learn.

    September 20, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • .


      September 24, 2012 at 6:19 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.