Since some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, nearly 70% of the world's 6.8 billion people live in countries with severe restrictions on religion.
The Pew Research Center's comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests that, despite recent events, America is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than are Muslim minority communities in other countries.
Numerous Americans attend worship services of more than one faith or denomination, and many also mix Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects. Sizeable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups say they have experienced supernatural phenomena.
With their religious beliefs requiring distinctive elements of dress and appearance -- wearing a turban, keeping hair and beards uncut, carrying a kirpan -- Sikhs have been a part of many legal disputes. In an interview, church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle discusses religious liberty and accommodation issues involving Sikh-Americans.
The Democrats' image with respect to religion fell sharply among groups inclined to dislike their party's politics. Obama, though, is seen as friendlier to religion than is his party. Both fare better than do Hollywood, the media and scientists.
Nearly six-in-ten say Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons. A new survey also finds the public is more likely to see differences rather than similarities between their own religion and every other religion tested, with the sole exception of Protestantism.
Most members of mainline denominations say society should accept homosexuality.
Religion reporting in 2008 clustered around big events such as the pope's visit and stories tended to fade quickly from the headlines. Coverage gravitated toward controversies such as Obama's relationship with Jeremiah Wright and clergy sex-abuse scandals.
Is the falling economy raising attendance at religious services?