Religious intolerance on the rise worldwide, says US report


Three-quarters of the world’s human population of seven billion live under strong government curbs on religion, or among serious “social hostilities” involving faith issues, find researchers.

The US and UK, say the researchers, are among countries showing a worrying rise in religious discrimination.

The conclusions of the project, conducted by the Pew Research Centre, an American thinktank,’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, were published on Thursday. The analysis, of 197 countries and territories, identifies a sharp rise in religious limits globally and a 6% increase in restrictions in the four years until 2010.

The survey, The Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion, is the second successive one by Pew to note increasing intolerance worldwide.

Painting a stark picture of a “rising tide” of intolerance and government restrictions on religious matters, the report cites evidence including “crimes, malicious acts and violence motivated by religious hatred or bias, as well as increased government interference with worship or other religious practices”.

The project notes an acceleration in intolerance, reporting a 63% rise from mid-2009 to mid-2010 in numbers of countries that increased government restrictions, in comparison with Pew’s last survey that had noted a 56% rise.

Written By: Peter Beaumont
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  1. Bad title. Intolerance of religion would be a good thing. But this is about the religious’ intolerance of other religions.

  2. The only religious intolerance is that which is practiced by Muslims with regard to any other religion.

  3. Firstly, it is difficult to take seriously a report which gives the UK a higher score on religious discrimination than Iran.  There is clearly something seriously wrong with the question they were asking.

    Putting this aside, many of the “problems” observed seem to be either “blue on blue” attacks by the religious upon the religious (either within different parts of the same religion or against other religions) or religious people complaining that they are no longer allowed to discriminate against others and getting upset at the thought of their losing undeserved privilege and being asked to obey the law like anyone else.

    Finally, I would have thought that in the US and many developing nations, the discrimination is by the religious against those of no religion.

  4.  Thanks for clarifying that. I read the whole article and still wasn’t sure what it was really about. I’m still not sure what ‘government restrictions on religion’ really means.

  5.  Agreed. Although, along with Iran, the UK is the only country in the world that appoints clerics to its upper house.

  6. I suppose its me being an atheist that has me getting angrier and angrier that they failed to mention that countries where governments restrict religious freedom are ones where religion and government are effectively one and the same.  This isn’t religious intolerance it its a religious war.  Call it what it is.  Where Britain and other countries are experiencing religious intolerance,  who is making the attacks?

  7. It is not just intolerance toward other religions, it is intolerance of everyone who does not believe as they do. This is of course nothing new with religion. Religion promotes intolerance, hatred and bigotry. 

  8. Pew is open sourced, the data on the US are interesting:…  

    I am just digging into the findings. As usual, newspapers print what will catch a reader’s eye – and no doubt, some preacher will use the headline information to complain about how the Gays, Feminists, and Liberals are taking religious freedoms away. The rise was indeed small, but it was the first time such a rise has been seen in the US. 

  9. Way way way off the mark Magellan. Have you been in a bucket the last few decades (sorry should read – millennium) ? Try reading this site on a regular basis. 

    It’s depressing but you’ve missed plenty Christian intolerance on every other religion too. Also Christian intolerance of non-religion and sexuality too! 

    Cherry picking anyone?

  10. I haven’ t finished reading it, but I already see a problem.

    Pew make clear that by intolerance they mean intolerance of one religious group to another religious group.

    How long before a Preacher misuses a headline to claim that religious intolerance is coming from atheists and agnostics – even though we appear to have no role?



  11. Note the very last line in the Guardian article: 

    The increase in religious curbs comes as recent surveys have appeared to demonstrate that people around the world are becoming more religious.”

    Becoming more religious? Facepalm.  Fuck, fuck and triple fuck……

    I truly fear for the future of our species


  12. Oh man, what a wonderful moniker, wish I’d thought of it! 

    Maybe Vlad the Merciful Impaler…

  13. If the governmental intolerance is about not allowing one’s right to overrun others’, then I don’t see any problem.

  14. This is a very vague article which wants to concentrate on intolerance to religion without dealing with the far greater problem of religious intolerance of those who do not believe and those who dare criticise their religion.

  15. I don’t quite understand this article. Religions being restricted by governments? My ass! At least not in democratic countries.  As a matter of fact some religions are being too much tolerated and in return our democratic rights are being abused and threatened by them. If you grant them more tolerance, pretty soon we’ll be back in Medieval times or in the Stone Age.
    Religions are being intolerant with each other? That’s the truth. If each religion thinks it’s the true one, it’s logical that the others are false and deserve the worst. What else can you expect from them? Love, peace and a kiss on the snout?
    The solution is a secular society, freedom of religion, freedom from religion and freedom of speech. I won’t set afire any church, mosque, synagogue, etc  if they don’t harass me, threaten me or force me to live and abide by their creeds. As we say in Spanish, your freedom ends where my freedom begins. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Religions must learn to respect this motto.

  16. I don’t think there is intolerance about Christianity in the U.S., since a large number of people are Christians.  I do think more people are not attending church even though they proclaim to be believers.  To me, Christianity has too much dominance in our government and I am hoping the election will have an affect on it.  Dominionism seems to be on the rise since the republican primaries.  It seems to be more prevalent now.  I hope the republicans lose so maybe things will be better for our country and maybe it will help silence the radicals. 

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