Religious persecution and intolerance remain one of the darkest sides of our history. Today, every person is free to openly practice any religion they want, without the fear of being harassed or oppressed because of it. This is our human right, something that is protected by law, and nobody can take that away from us, right? Well, even though a lot has been done to make this a reality, there are still many countries and marginalized groups, in which people have to endure all kinds of abuse daily just because of their faith.
What is religious freedom?
Religious freedom, or freedom of religion, is the principle that every person is free to manifest and practice the religion of their choice. You also have the right to change your religion or beliefs if that is something that you want to do. In the majority of countries around the world, religious freedom is seen as one of the fundamental human rights, therefore you should be able to count on your country to protect you in any instance of religious intolerance or hatred. If a country has a state religion, religious freedom means that there will be no prosecution of other religions or faiths. In contemporary times, religious freedom and tolerance towards people of different faiths is something that should be accepted and practiced at all times. It is not only about being free to go to your place of worship freely but a sign that your country respects your beliefs and values and that you do not have to conform to another culture.
As we all know, religious freedom was not something many people supported in the past. Almost every religion we know today has gone through years of fighting for survival, and each of them endured their share of injustice. With events such as the Crusades and the Inquisition, we can safely say that wars and fighting for religious purposes never brought anything but bloodshed, pain, and hatred to the whole world. It wasn’t until the 18th century that people started practicing religious freedom in some parts of the world. The US was the first country that promised religious freedom and protection to its citizens, and many other countries followed the example soon after.
Do we all have religious freedom today?
It would be very ignorant to say that everybody has equal rights and that religious freedom is being practiced all across the globe. Not only that there are many countries where people are mistreated and oppressed because of their religion. but some reports state that the situation has been getting worse in the past couple of years. Hostility has been an ongoing issue in the Middle East and North Africa, but it is apparently spreading to Europe and North and South America. Currently, Christians, Muslims, and Jews are the most commonly harassed groups, with some reports saying that the situations have worsened drastically over the period of then years, from 2007 to 2017. We should also mention the general problem religion is facing in contemporary times due to the rise of technology, and more importantly, science. Many people don’t believe they can be religious if they also believe in science, and because of that, the number of religious people of all religions continues to drop each year.