Pew Research conducted a study on religious restrictions worldwide. Where does America fall on the list?
In their 6th annual research center study, PEW researchers looked into how the United States compared to other countries in terms of religious restrictions. They took into account the restrictions on religions, and the social hostilities exhibited towards different religious groups before measuring the different countries against each other. The report made it quite clear that while the first U.S. amendment forbids the government from making laws to establish a religion or prevent religious exercise, there still are many restrictions placed on religious activity.
The Pew Research Results
The study showed that the United States has shown moderate levels of social hostilities and religious restrictions that ranked the country in the center of almost 200 different countries. The report analysis revealed that, in comparison to Canada, the U.S. has more restrictions and hostilities. However, the government restrictions are less than Mexico and Western European countries.
U.S. Religious Restrictions
PEW took many different restrictions into account, including some that were later reversed in court or by federal agencies. Many of these restrictions were instated by local governments. In a recent case in Arkansas, prison guards forbade a Muslim inmate from growing the beard that allowed him to exercise his religious beliefs. The Supreme Court had no trouble unanimously ruling their law unjust and stating that federal law allowed him to exercise this right. Another case took place in Southern California, when the state refused to allow an Islamic center to build a mosque. The Judge declared it unconstitutional too.
Government restrictions in the United States aren’t as extreme as the religious restrictions found in countries like Burma, China, and Iran. Public hostilities are more extensive in Pakistan, India and Nigeria than in the U.S. However, there have been many religiously motivated hostilities in the recent years, including the bombings in Boston by two Muslim brothers. The study also found that most hostilities in the U.S. are directed towards Jews or Muslims.