Many Countries Penalize Blasphemy, Apostasy and Defamation of Religion
As of 2011 nearly half of the countries and territories in the world (47%) have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy or religious defamation.
Religious Makeup of the New Congress
The newly elected, 113th Congress includes the first Buddhist to serve in the Senate, the first Hindu and the first member of Congress to describe her religion as “none,” continuing a gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors the country as a whole.
Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion
Three-quarters of the world’s approximately 7 billion people now live in countries with high government restrictions on religion or high social hostilities involving religion, up from 70% a year earlier.
Catholics Share Bishops’ Concerns about Religious Liberty
Catholics who are aware of U.S. bishops’ concerns about restrictions on religious liberty generally agree with the bishops’ concerns, according to a new report. Yet there are no significant differences in presidential vote preferences between Catholic voters who have heard and those who have not heard about the bishops’ protests against government policies they see as restrictive of religious liberty.
Most Muslims Want Democracy, Personal Freedoms and Islam in Political Life
More than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations. A substantial number in key Muslim countries also want a large role for Islam in political life. Meanwhile, few think the U.S. favors democracy in the Middle East.
One Year Later, Egyptians Embrace Democracy, Islam in Political Life
Egyptians remain upbeat about the course of the nation and prospects for progress. Most Egyptians continue to want democracy, with two-in-three saying it is the best form of government. Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society.
Religion in Prisons
Professional prison chaplains see America’s state penitentiaries as places bustling with religious activity, ranging from efforts by inmates to proselytize or convert other inmates to religious switching by prisoners, according to a survey of chaplains in all 50 states.
Public Divided Over Birth Control Insurance Mandate
Americans are closely divided over whether religiously-affiliated institutions should be given an exemption if they object to a proposed federal rule requiring employers to cover birth control as part of their health care benefits.
In Brief: Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC
On Oct. 5, 2011, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a case that could help determine how much latitude religious organizations have in making employment decisions about clergy and others who perform religious duties.