Religious freedom coexist sticker
Despite the constitutional right to religious freedom, certain religious groups in the United States continue to feel persecuted because of their faith.

January 16th is Religious Freedom Day, the birthday of religious freedom in the United States. On this day in 1786, Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was officially adopted. This statute later became the basis for the Establishment Clause in the Constitution, giving citizens of the United States right to practice any religion of their choosing. Religious freedom during this period of history often conjures up images of Protestants fleeing the iron fist of the Church of England. However, Jefferson held an expansive view of religion. He believed that all citizens should be able to practice their faith freely, be they Protestants, Quakers, Catholics, Jews, or any other denomination.

The First Amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Jefferson was so proud of his contribution to religious freedom that he specifically requested it be included in the inscription on his gravestone upon his death.

Problem PersistsA sign that says no Muslim parking

Despite a longstanding constitutional right to religious freedom, certain religious groups in the United States continue to feel persecuted because of their faith particularly those who display visible symbols of it. Advocates for better protections argue that if a Muslim woman doesn't feel safe wearing a hijab in public, or a Sikh man cannot don a turban without fear of being attacked, it is evidence that America is failing to live up to Jefferson's ideal.

In 2015, the FBI compiled a report about hate crimes and discrimination in the United States. In all, religious bias accounted for nearly 20 percent of all hate crimes, with 1,402 offenses reported to the authorities. Interestingly, Jews were the most persecuted religious group, with 52 percent of the crimes being tied to anti-Jewish bias. Another 22 percent of the crimes were anti-Muslim. Roughly 12 percent targeted Christian groups.

A man bringing attention to persecution of Christians in Iraq. Internationally, Christians Suffer Most

Earlier this month, the Center for Studies of New Religions released a report on the most persecuted religions around the world. Although here in the U.S. Jews and Muslims are at the highest risk, the same is not true elsewhere. Internationally, Christians are actually the most persecuted. In fact, the report determined that 90,000 Christians died in 2016 for their beliefs. Islamic extremists were responsible for about one-third of these deaths. The rest occurred in countries such as North Korea, Somalia and China.

The Pew Research Center found that over 75 percent of the world's population lives in areas with strong religious restrictions. In all, it is estimated that over 600 million Christians are currently being prevented from practicing their faith. The U.S. Department of State lists 60 countries in which Christians face persecution, either from the government or groups within the country.

Promoting Understanding

Clearly, compared to other places around the world, the laws protecting religious freedom in the United States are relatively robust. However, the issues of religious persecution and discrimination are not absent in modern American life. Because of the vast diversity of belief systems that exist in this country, addressing such issues presents unique challenges. As we continue to work towards a better future, we are reminded of a quote from His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

"A society which has many religions should also have many prophets and sources of refuge. In such a society, it is very important to have harmony and respect amongst the different religions and their practitioners. We must distinguish between belief and respect. Belief refers to total faith, which you must have in your own religion. At the same time, you should have respect for all other religions."

Have you ever experienced discrimination or persecution because of your religion? What can be done to promote understanding and unity?


  1. Kathryn's Avatar Kathryn

    Freedom from religion is as, or maybe more, important than freedom of religion. The rights of citizens to follow their own life philosophy without persecution or prejudice from others with differing views must be at the core of American values. It is also necessary to make unlawful any questions concerning an individual's beliefs or lack of, especially if that individual is a political candidate. Ridding the religious litmus test from our election process is a start to strengthening the first amendment. When we end the 'focus of faith' it may be possible to put religion back where it belongs, as a personal matter, and not something to be waved about in public and used to intimidate others....or gather votes.

    1. Dr. David's Avatar Dr. David

      You are so correct, it is good to read someone who agrees with me. Christians complain of persecution as they persecute others. It is a very sad time in America.

      1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

        Kathryn & David; Two thoughtful responses. I agree 100%.

        1. Nicholas's Avatar Nicholas

          The statement above is well said. One thing, it seems like every religion says they are about peace but they are the only ones fighting and Killing.

          1. Rev. Curtis Steinhour's Avatar Rev. Curtis Steinhour

            all religions believe in God and you are OK if you believe in God the same way you do if not you are bad

      2. Minister Frank's Avatar Minister Frank


        I am a Minister from Norway.Please tell me why this church has political opinions. If it is liberal or conservative, what is the use of this?

        1. Ama Nazra's Avatar Ama Nazra

          Hi Frank,

          I am from Australia. I am not the owner of the site, but for the most part, I find that the authors of these articles simply ask our opinions on various subjects, some of which get brief comments from a group of us (or in my case long answers .. sigh), and some go a little berserk, as the gun discussion has on another question on this site. People can get lost in their own opinions, go right off topic and end up being incredibly rude. We should really all try and focus and stay on topic.

          Logistically, the more comments a blog gets the more likely it is to be rated highly on search engines like Google, sadly, in these cases, for the wrong reasons.

          I agree that a church should not have political opinions. Nor should they foster hate and dissension, particularly on the internet, where the 'world' can be watching. Arguments can actually destroy a group completely, if the owners let them continue. In the meantime, a discussion between people with strong opinions can also be productive. It's really up to us to keep our cool, be polite and enjoy the interaction.

          1. Jose Soto's Avatar Jose Soto

            I think in this case, when a political leader threatens one because of their religion, we must speak up. If he does it one, how long before he goes after the others? Anything or anyone he doesn't agree with, he tries to solve it by tweeting against it or threatens to punish them in some way. This is not leadership, this is dictatorship. And if we do nothing, we are just as bad.

    2. Jason Brown's Avatar Jason Brown

      Freedom from religion is quite important to me. As a follower of Christ's example, I believe in using my lifestyle as a testimony rather than words. In truth, what works for me may not work for you. I alsofeel that it is reckless and irresponsible to proselytize as a mission in religion. Being that the nature of church/temple/synagogue etc. is one that is characterized by broken people seeking something better-we must be careful about the messages we send out and to whom they are being delivered. As is the case in all social animals, the morals of the group are always compelling and often less quality than those of individuals. We in the leadership must pose to ourselves one question: what kind of leaders are we creating here??


    there has and will always be those that , are rejected for their beliefs. simply out of ignorance of those faiths . first learn the truth about these religions and faiths from true unbiased sources. realise that your faith is also a source of mystery to them as well. with learning of each other's faith and beliefs . then people can live in peace not constant religious wars. one source of learning is free library on internet. libra audio books, and e-sward . for a fee bible that can be magnified for easier reading. understand first so you do not make a religious bigot of yourself .

  1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

    Unfortunately, some religions will not live peacefully with others. One in particular commands followers to kill those who do not believe the same as them. Fine. That is their religion. Religions may, and will, disagree with other, but when violence is commanded by their religious leaders, then those who follow that religion give up their right of freedom of religion. It is a two way street. If they want freedom of religion, then they must also allow freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is not a suicide pact. We do not have to roll over and allow their freedom of religion IF their freedom of religion commands the death of innocent people. It no longer is a religion only. It has become a religion infused with political attributes. It becomes both a religion and a political creed. At that point, the political out weighs the religion and it must be stopped. Yes, I am talking about Islam. It is more than just a religion, it is a political creed also. When Islam tries to force their religion through political power or through terror, Islam is no longer a religion only. All Muslims who will practice only their religion and forgo the political creed, then they must be protected from any and all harm. Only when Islam passes over into the secular world as a politicaL creed, does it lose any and all protections of the First Amendment.

    1. Ama Nazra's Avatar Ama Nazra

      Yes, the Christians have also been pretty shocking over the millenia, given the hold they have had over Western Society, and their many forceful crusades to bring 'Light to the heathens' across the globe - which continues to this day, Brother Bill. To some degree its understandable that others would choose to copy this behaviour.

      Pity all those people caught up in the battle, the innocent victims and ordinary people who choose to try and live a good life, with or without religion, have to be made to suffer by small groups of nasty individuals pretending to be good Muslims (or good Christians), much to the horror of the true Muslims - a religion just as 'peaceful' as the Christian one.

      Perhaps when Christianity gives up its stranglehold on so many people, Islam will too. In the meantime, didn't Jesus ask us to take the plank out of our own eye first, before we try and pick the speck out of others? You cannot sweep up every Muslim, or every Christian, like Waco and the Davidian Cult, and say we have to get rid of one, when all of them are corrupt now.

      And I am a Christian, on the inside looking out, and wondering why God continues to let all of humanity break all of the rules .. or I guess he (its) used to letting us kill ourselves off over and over again.

      When will we ever learn ... when will we ever learn ...

      Love & Peace Ama

      1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

        You mention the "many forceful crusades to bring "Light to the heathens"". Are you aware that the Crusades were actually a belated response to Muslim aggression? Virtually all of the current Middle East were Christian lands that were conquered by Muslim armies? I'm not saying everything was perfect with the Crusades, but the Crusades were a response, not the original act of war. As I wrote, when a religion COMMANDS aggression in all forms against everyone not following that specific religion, that religion forfeits all rights of freedom of religion. If a religion does NOT respect such freedoms, then those freedoms are forfeit by that religion. I am not talking about speech or intellectual arguments. I mean physical violence in a religion's name. Currently, only one religion does this. And I mean a religion as a dogma of faith expounded by religious leaders, not actions by individuals claiming religious reasons. Islam is the only religion that commands violence against all non-muslims as an act of religious dogma. Islamic rulings by major Islamic religious leaders, including al-Azhar in Egypt, all call for an invitation to convert to Islam. If that is rejected, then a non-muslim is allowed to live as a second class person, subservient to Muslims. If both are rejected, then Muslims are commanded to fight non-muslims and kill them. Christianity has no stranglehold over people like Islam does. BTW: the Branch Davidians were quite peaceful until the federal government attacked. Get your facts correct first. Islam is not a peaceful religion! True Islam is actually being practiced by ISIS. As to why we're allowed to "break the rules", remember this. The Lord God gave mankind free choice. We can choose our actions. But we have to pay the cost of our poor decisions. Consequences. What is happening in the world is the consequence of numerous poor decisions by many people.

        1. Ama Nazra's Avatar Ama Nazra

          Hi Brother Bill ,

          I am aware of the reasons for the 1st Crusade, and all the others that followed. The way I read the history is that the Turks were causing trouble for the Byzantium Empire, the Emperor (how did Alexius Comnenus 'seize' the throne?) of which asked for help from the Pope (Urban II). The response was rather larger than expected. Four groups of Crusaders were formed, along with a few less organised groups, who went off early and a lot of damage 'before' the actual 1st Crusade. The 1st Crusaders then ran the Turks into the ground, the second wasn't so lucky. Giving rise to the third, then on through to the sixth ... which is just getting ridiculous. It appears, in the last, the Crusaders attacked anyone they saw as a threat to the Christian dominion, which included Christians classed as heretics, such as the Cathars. Christianity has a history of attacking its own, when they fall from grace (meaning out of popular favour), or when the leaders change their minds about what they believe and why (eg John Calvin who ended up burnt at the stake). Where the 1st Crusade is concerned, it is more likely that various groups of men, just back from other wars, needed somewhere to blow off steam, so their leaders sent them off to a new war 'for Peace'. There was nothing Christian involved in that decision, for the leaders, just a way to control the rabble .. because Jesus never asked anyone to go to war for him .. just the opposite. He expected them to act for Peace.

          And then there are the missionaries even now - still bringing the word of 'God' to foreign countries - how many people died in the name of God over the millenia? And these days, when they get abducted we are supposed, as good Christians, to go and rescue them. So we send in the military ... not so different from the Crusaders.

          ISIS is not the true Muslim faith; anymore than the soldiers in the Crusades were practicing the true Christian faith. The true Christian faithful follow the teachings of JESUS, who said 'love one another' and 'treat your neighbour as your brother/family'.

          According to the reports I have read, the Branch Dividian group was gathering weapons, perhaps only to defend themselves, but their leader/s were obviously insane, domineering and dangerous. I abhor what happened to the group when the police, and others, stepped in. But there are similarities - ISIS was a small group imposing its will on others, whether they wanted to join or not (just think of the kidnapped school girls). In this case, because of all the media coverage, suddenly its popularity soared and men, and women, joined, or tried to, from all over the world. ISIS took war to the innocent - - - and what are 'the good guys' doing to ISIS in retaliation? Helping destroy whole cities in the name of Peace ...

          Its just another form of Crusade, and the Muslims are to blame again, another distraction to keep ordinary people frightened, looking for 'reds under the beds' and 'terrorists in the closets' .. the small group of Radicals are being used as an excuse to persecute the innocent - or is it simply the ignorant?

          You see, with the help of the media, people who do not look at history, or do not know the whole story (as the majority of us actually don't) .. only see what we are told is real. They are being encouraged to believe that all Muslims are bad, or dangerous, or terrorists hiding behind burkas .. and where we should be more like Jesus, instead we are more like Jehovah in Job - where Jehovah allowed a group of people (Job's family and servants .. and animals (?)) to be destroyed in the name of testing his faith.) Here is history, if it is history, repeating itself. And where is God and Jesus in this?

          We fail. We fail every time we look at another person and think "I will not like you because your skin is not the same colour as mine, you do not believe in the God I believe in, you wear clothes that hide your features - and when I cannot see your eyes I should be frightened of you .. so I will be frightened - and you will become the target of my fear because the television says you should be, or the politicians and power brokers (who are lining their pockets with our money or profits from weapon sales), says I should be. The enemy is not outside there, under the burka the lady wears by choice, no .. its inside us, in our hearts, when we deny Jesus and decide to hate, rather than to Love.

          We did not go to war against the 'Muslims'. We went to war against a man with a gun in his hand, and all his followers, because they were harming the innocent. That man, those men and women, have been rejected by their own Muslim leaders as not being of their TRUE faith. We have to stop painting all Muslims with the same brush. They are not all haters. They are peaceful. They are good. They are loving. They are kind. They are honourable and honest and deserve our respect. Their world is being torn apart by the actions of a small group of individuals that they cannot control. We have to take off the blinkers and the labels and go back to the fact that this is nothing to do with God or Faith, any faith. It is to do with power and domination. You can relabel the ISIS mob as Crusaders. Would that make it all right then? The Crusaders are out there saving humanity .. not the Christians .. from a war they didn't start. But the real demon here is fear. Fear drives the darkness before it .. and we are all in darkness when we stop looking at individuals and start thinking like a mob.

          As to being called to convert to Islam, what about the Christians of various groups (or sects) who stand on street corners saying that anyone who does not welcome Jesus into their hearts, permanently, is going straight to hell? They might not have a gun in their hand today, but then neither did the Muslims I sat and compared religions with at a New Age Convention a couple of years ago, who laughed and joked, and enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. And at the end we agreed we should all convert to each other's religions, or not, and they were both men and women, Bill. My friends and I, all women, had a great hug from each of them and went off to a Sikh table and had our hands and arms henna-ed.

          The world is too small to hate another for their beliefs, for their differences, and because of all our fears, imaginary or not. The start of the long-winded conversation was really based in 'do we have religious freedom'. The answer is we don't. As long as one person is prepared to hate, or be frightened of, another because of whichever God or Goddess their choose to follow - we will never be free. And it has to start with us. It has to start with forgiveness and trust - two things sorely missing in the world today.

          Thanks for the patience in reading, if you actually did get to the bottom of this message - which is really God loves all his (its) creations, no matter what they believe in. Everyone one of us.

          Love & Peace Ama

          1. Gloria Jackson's Avatar Gloria Jackson

            Well said well written.

        2. Brother Phil's Avatar Brother Phil

          Branch Davidians were practicing child rape and armed themselves with modified assault rifles to make automatic weapons. Then they rigged their compound to burn to the ground. The federal government had to be called in because they had kidnapped children. I'm not sure I would call that peaceful Brother Bill.

        3. Dr. Griffith's Avatar Dr. Griffith

          It it is sad you are unable to see all the wrong that is Christianity. Christian are doing the same thing as the followers of Islam. You cannot be blind to the faults of your own religion.

          1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

            Please provide examples of Christians doing the same thing as followers of Islam - current examples. Not examples of 50, 100, 200 years ago, but now! I am not blind to faults of Christians, but I refuse to excuse others because some Christians do not live up to the standards of a Christian life.

      2. Thomas Harkness's Avatar Thomas Harkness

        Debasing - The "Tolerance Trap" - and other acts where a psychotic will take advantage of the empathy of others to abuse them while having no empathy of their own, and saying that it is because the others lack empathy (bullies will always blame their victims) is the key to (an ultimate demise) to the argument. The Bible (and therefore God) teaches us that we have freedom of choice. We are also taught that our choice will define us after our time here is done. We are also taught that "To live is Christ - To die is gain" (i.e. some of us put too much value on our life here and now).

        Bad things happen because we do not follow simple rules for getting along - because we don't have to (Free Will). However, God really is not as worried as to how we get to Heaven as he is that we get there at all. So, stop worrying about who is a good neighbor and start focusing on being that good neighbor. Stop worrying about having good Christian leaders and start focusing on being good Christian followers. The rewards you receive here on Earth are irrelevant compared to what comes next. Be patient - Forgive - ask for Forgiveness - and Pray. You will not be totally right in everything you do, but God will.

    2. Christobella's Avatar Christobella

      Brother Bill. That was well written and I totally agree with everything you have said and not unreasonable. Now days many are too afraid to speak out about this problem in fear of being targeted, but that fear needs to stop if it can help stop persecution of other religious beliefs outside of the Islamic faith.

      1. Dr. Griffith's Avatar Dr. Griffith

        Is it fear or cowardice? Americans and Christians talk a good talk, but they are cowards. There must be acceptance instead of running from anything that is different from them.

        1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

          Cowardice? I think not. It is a refusal to accept lies and falsehoods spouted by the media and others. It is the confrontation with people who do evil in the name of their religion. I will call out anyone who does that. But, do not confuse self-defense as an act of evil.

    3. PCurry's Avatar PCurry

      Do not confuse some who use religion as an excuse to persecute others with the religion commands. Only a very tiny number of religious leaders teach killing others. In America is far more likely that religious leader claims to be a follower of Christ. These persecute other religious minorities and non religious minorities.

      As a member of the smallest, most persecuted, most oppressed, most discriminated against minority group on the planet. Not for a mere few hundred years, for untold a millennia the intersex and transgender community have been murdered, denied housing and employment. And now some would deny us the right to natural bodily functions in peace and safety. I find it disgusting that some who claim to be Christian also believe they are oppressed, Christ calls upon those not to complain but to buck it up. Jesus told the world if your oppressed in his name your reward is in the next realm.

      As one who strives to follow Christ example I find the oppression of my Muslim brothers and sisters repulsive and I will be first in line should registration of Muslims become required. Just as the king of Denmark sewed a good start of David on his clothes, my God tells me I must do this for my brothers and sisters.

    4. Martin Pace's Avatar Martin Pace

      Brother Bill,

      Deuteronomy13:6-10. basically says if anyone serves another God they should be stoned. Do not isolate only one religion that calls for the death of nonbelievers.

      We would all better be served by what Jesus said. Love one another as yourself and do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

      Martin Pace

      1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

        But the Bible teaches that humans have the choice to decide for themselves.That verse is God's command of punishment. There is NO Biblical verse that says that killing unbelievers guarantees entry into Paradise. Yet, the Quran does promise that as the only guarantee to enter Paradise that Muslims have. Only by fighting and dying as a martyr in jihad is a Muslim guaranteed Paradise.

    5. caz's Avatar caz

      Given that you believe that Islam is the source of conflict, one must ask who attacked whom. You will find that 'Christian ' nations were first into battle.

      The second problem with your post is that you do not understand Islam. Like Christianity, it is not s single homogeneous philosophy, there are numerous sects, some more conservative than others. Subsets of the Sunni group include Salafists, Wahbists, and Islamists, all of whom are right wing and fairly extreme. ISIS (who the US is fighting and arming at the same time) use Islam as a reason but they are not Muslim, and the Taliban will take on anyone who tries to invade Afghanistan. So we should ask who is the aggressor?

      1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

        Actually, Keith, you are wrong about history. Islam was attacking Christian lands, conquering the current Middle East, for about 400 years before Christians responded. The Crusades was the first coherent response by Christianity to Islamic attacks I am well aware of the major sects and minor sects of Islam. That is immaterial. Read the Quran. I have. Apply the Islamic doctrine of abrogation. What is left is violent, hateful, and sectarian. Your example of Salafists, Wahabis, ISIS, Taliban, being fairly extreme breaks down. They are in accord with what remains of Islam when the abrogated verses are ignored. Yes, the use Islam as a reason, but they are truly Muslims! The peaceful verses of Mecca were replaced by the later, violent verses from Medina. To each his own religion, there is no coercion of religion, etc., are all tenets of Islam being put forth, but they are no longer valid. All infidels (non-Muslims) are given the choice to convert to Islam or die. Only Jews and Christians have a third choice to become dhimi subjects of Islam. That means paying.jizya, a tax/fee imposed on them by Islam. If they refuse to convert or pay the jizya, then dying is all that is left. I suggest you do a bit or real research before expounding on a subject with false facts. Do not trust any Muslim source as Muslims are permitted to lie to advance Islam. BTW: arming ISIS? I think not. If you have prove of the that, provide it please. As to your last question - Islam has been the aggressor for over 1,400 years.

    6. Natasha's Avatar Natasha

      Wow, it is just like the history of Christianity, all religions have so much hate in common; killing forced labor, slavery, genocide, colonization and opression of women. Now, throw the first stone.

  1. Lynn Gideon's Avatar Lynn Gideon

    We not only do not have religious freedom, but we also do not have freedom of speech.

    1. Dark Gray's Avatar Dark Gray

      Sorry, Lynn, but that's fake news. You're not allowed to say that.

      1. PCurry's Avatar PCurry

        Alternate facts are found in the coffin section

  1. Lee Boutell's Avatar Lee Boutell

    The first amendment to our Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This means that our government must allow religious freedom and non-religious freedom, legally. Our Constitution does not specifically prohibit private persons from discriminating against any religion. That must be handled by other laws or methods. We do have legal religious freedom. But we increasingly do not have freedom from social pressure, misunderstanding, prejudice or hateful, ignorant people who fear what they do not understand or are unwilling to understand. The only bridge over the chasm of fear, persecution, hatred and ignorance is Love, with Understanding and Patience. That is how Jesus lived. That is how the Saints of all eras and all faiths lived. As ministers of faith, this Love should be our guiding light. That is how we should live.

  1. Ama Nazra's Avatar Ama Nazra

    How does another person tell if a Muslim owns a car? Is there some magic marker sticker that only those who are not Muslim can see? That's a comment on that photo with the stupid sign in it. Don't people have enough to do, during the day and night, to have time to sit and watch for someone getting out a car that might possibly look like they even have a faith, if not a specific one?

    No one has freedom of religion, or religious freedom. I like Kathryn's comment, although I don't live in America. I live in Australia. Our first nation people are also persecuted, as is every other belief system, in this country - by intolerant, thoughtless, hostile, often ignorant, individuals from every country around the world. We are multicultural here now .. and actually always have been .. since the first white people also came from different countries, not just England.

    And then there is persecution, private or otherwise, of people who want to believe in a God (any God .. ) that is different from what their parents want them to believe in. A child can be made a laughing stock from because they want to go to church, or study Theology, or .. God forbid .. become a minister of a Church .. which many woman still cannot do in many 'Christian' religions, not to mention other religions .. shows a huge lack of freedom to choose to be the best we can be, for ourselves, for others and for whichever God anyone wants to believe in.

    Thank God the God I believe in believes in freedom of choice .. otherwise the world would be populated by animals .. and I don't mean the human ones. One blink in the wrong direction and that 'God', that seems to teach all this intolerance, would wipe out (smite) everyone who didn't believe in IT.

    What can be done to promote understanding and unity? Remove competition. My God is not bigger than yours, not more powerful, not more forgiving, not more dangerous'; doesn't only speak to my heart, doesn't only have room in ITS house for martyrs .. you see, MY GOD IS YOUR GOD .. just uses another name, or a variety of names. IT's all one energy. Hopefully LOVE!

    I shall now step down from my soapbox, you may undo your seatbelts and smoke .. oh no, you are not allowed to do that either these days ... .. and no, I am not a smoker .. except for the occasional smoke that pours out my ears. :-)

    Love & Peace Ama Nazra

  1. I am Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr..And Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel in his soul.'s Avatar I am Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr..And Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel in his soul.

    Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr.: I,Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr.,am republican and voted for Donald J. Trump already. I am living in a U.S. country in fact and I say I am white because I am morally and spiritually pure day and night.That is what white really means. I am a powerful sorcerer and a non-Christian minister of righteousness that likes to summon my male and female holy ghosts in my soul that talk through my mouth in a childish voice,in a feminine voice,and in a masculine voice daily.Three voices really through my mouth.I have no freedom of speech nor my freedom of my other worldly(spirituality) religion when I talk on Broward County Transit buses.And when I talk to employees and to Facebook representatives that are all racists,and think I am crazy to talk with my female archangel of Light in my soul called Priscilla the Chastity that is the daughter of The Angel of Light the male archangel in my soul as well.

    Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel: We are in the U.S.A. oh daddy called Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr. that I married happily really. I think Broward County Transit buses should close down oh Angel of Light because so many times my daddy was wearing shirts around his waist and a female tank-top and nail polish many times.And many Broward County Transit buses just drove passed us many times because they are racists and never liked my daddy dressed in his female clothes when I am a female archangel of light in his soul.Me,Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel, and my daddy missed so many Broward County Transit buses so many times that just drove passed us and never stopped because they never liked the way we dressed,and they are racist.

    Samantha The Poetess the female archangel of Light: Facebook is also racist really.And these representatives hung up the phone on Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr. so many times when he talked with Priscilla the Chastity the female archangel in her female voice through Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr. oh Angel of Light the male archangel in the soul of Rev.Dr.Yanel J. Laroche Jr. so poetic and bold.

    1. Warren Taylor's Avatar Warren Taylor

      Oh dear.

    2. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

      Wow, that was,

  1. Brendan's Avatar Brendan

    Christian persecution is the biggest issue facing the world today. Why is nothing being done about this?! Hello? United Nations? Where are you?

    1. Dr. Griffith's Avatar Dr. Griffith

      Only because people like you want it to be. If you minded your own business and respected the people of where you were you would not be persecuted.

      1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

        Ditto, David.

      2. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

        Sorry Dave, but Islam commands the persecution of Jews, Christians, infidels. The peaceful verses in the Quran no longer have meaning. The later, violent verses are operative. Abrogation means the earlier verses do not apply anymore.

  1. biblical scholar's Avatar biblical scholar

    Hopefully President Trump can END persecution against good Christians! We are the last people being discriminated against in this world and I am certain President Trump will put hate groups like Black Lives Matter in prison where they belong for hating good Christian men. Maybe they can bunk with Hillary!

    1. Bob Anderson's Avatar Bob Anderson

      Bernard, you are a perfect example of what is wrong with our country today; bigoted, ill-informed and sanctimonious.

    2. Dr. Griffith's Avatar Dr. Griffith

      How does someone who claims to be religious be a bigot?

      1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

        Bob and Dave, you are both guilty of the same faults. Bigoted. Sanctimonious. A sense of superiority. Under informed.

        The sword swings both ways.

  1. Tom's Avatar Tom

    Birds of a feather flock together. The same applies to religious entities. I seriously doubt that we will ever get along; at least until we leave this life and, hopefully, find a common heaven.

  1. Alan Dust's Avatar Alan Dust

    Please, don't be foolish enough to buy into Muslim as a religion. It is a way of life and a desire not to love or get along but to dominate and destroy those who oppose their beliefs. The majority of their so called bible is about Mohammad , an evil man, with only a little of their god thrown in so they can pass it off as a religion to the foolish. Joseph Gainey said, 'you can't fix stupid.'

  1. Amber's Avatar Amber

    Several things seem to be going on here. First and foremost the refugees are not terrorists, they are trying to escape the terrorist ideals and violence that terrorists are trying to stir up. That should mean something. Don't you think?

    Second, If you are someone who reads, really reads the bible then you'd know it has some pretty violent bits in it as well. It also encourages violence to non believers and violators of the religious tenets. If Modern Christians can over come that while still having a few fringe violent groups then it stands to reason the majority of the refugees are just as interested in being peaceful... especially if they are trying to escape the violence.

    Third, there is plenty of evidence that since the refugee act of 1980, refugees have not been involved in a single death. Terrorists have,yes, but refugees, no. Before that there were only three. All three were out of Cuba, not the middle east. What attacks have happened were thwarted with our diligent and well trained teams scattered about this country.

    Is it really so hard to be tolerant as this country claims to be and still maintain our levels of freedom and safety? Are we really so afraid that we are willing to throw any acceptance, equality and help to those who need it? Really?

    Any of this information is easily googled. I know fear can be debilitating and we all are human. Reacting on fear is normal. But we are intelligent. We can learn and overcome if we try. There has to be some middle ground we can achieve without devastating families like this.

    1. Brother Bill's Avatar Brother Bill

      Amber, sorry but you have posted false facts. In my neighborhood, two refugees murdered over a dozen people in December 2014. Remember the terror attack in San Bernardino, California? Both refugees.

      Do not trust CNN or any major media for facts. They all slant the news to fit their world view, thereby lying on purpose or lying by omission of other facts. Try googling the real facts, but use multiple search engines.

      BTW - the violent verses in the Bible are all time and place specific. Once the time passed or the location changed, the violence was not allowed.

  1. James Macklin's Avatar James Macklin

    When I personally think about my religious views, I think that I should practice Love, Compassion, and Respect for All others. When referencing what I should do as a Human Being to pass on to the everlasting or afterlife upon the death of my body, I feel that as long as I have treated everyone that I have come in contact with the love, compassion and respect that everyone deserves, then I have accomplished my task. In reading books of religions, I have seen that in some chapters, they have strict guidelines and rules that people must live by in order to achieve the everlasting afterlife with God, or Allah or the Supreme Being. Some religions believe that females are not to expose any body part to any person except their husband and that divorce is punishable by death, or that females are not supposed to cut their hair, and that men are not supposed to shave their beards, and people in general are not supposed to consume certain animals or creatures for food. In reading some of the barbaric punishments for these supposed SINS, I can only think, that it contradicts other beliefs of not killing, and doing no harm. I believe that Religions should be able to modernize with time. If everyone would practice Love, Compassion and Respect for all others, then we as humans could live in harmony and peace Don't attempt to force a particular religion on others. If they choose to practice a particular faith, then just respect them and their beliefs and move on. That is why wars have been going on for so long, and why they won't end until we as humans decide to quit trying to change others to do what we want them to do. I also agree that any questions regarding a persons religion should not ever be asked, especially of politicians. Politics and religion should be kept separated completely. As the Dalai Lama has stated, a nation with many religions needs to also have a respect for all to practice their religion.

  1. Alma Mercer's Avatar Alma Mercer

    From my studies and analogous Faith persecution is nothing new . from the Christians to the Jews ,to Islam.It seems that this has been going on since the beginning. The biggest question is whose's right ? from my own experience, we are all right. I think faith and belief come from inside, our experiences with it ? I really don't think any one has a monopoly on it, nor can their ever be. from the pagan, to the Buddhist, to the Hindu, to the christian, to the Jew, we all find peace from within, our desire to reach that place of contentment, their is no wrong way. Many a innocent have died in the name of some orthodox faith , and none . no belief system is without is persecution. But I do sense change, as war-out mythology's collapse, and new age of spirituality is born.

  1. dvaunhowe's Avatar dvaunhowe

    Perhaps Christians are more persecuted, but I do not trust CESNUR as an objective observer.

  1. Right Reverend Desmond Morris's Avatar Right Reverend Desmond Morris

    I have read this post with great interest, But there is one thing that stands out in my mind. That is there is only one God, and to worship others will end in an afterlife of hell fire and brimstone. I feel sorry for all the other faiths, as with out doubt they will all burn in hell, as is the teachings of the lord. So I say to them make the most of it now, as when you pass over it will not be so tolerant.

  1. Father Vlcan's Avatar Father Vlcan

    If you can practice your religion as you see its beliefs without resistance from others in your society, you have religious freedom. If you need others to practice your beliefs, you do not believe in religious freedom.

  1. I.S. Johnson's Avatar I.S. Johnson

    Religion has little to do with the creator or faith and spirituality. I feel that many people confuse faith with adherence to doctrine. Doctrine is not gospel. Religions were created to explain complex issues of physical life to mostly ignorant, illiterate masses, to gain control and contain civil disharmony. To promote civil unity individual societies professed their beliefs were the one true belief and all others were false. This allowed for the few high ranking citizens to control and influence the masses. Spirituality is the understanding of the creator and the systems of the universe and our place as souls in that system. We are one world, one people with one creator. Freedom of religion is a doctrine born of persecution of those who refused to submit to doctrines that they found at odds with truth. It is one of the foundations of our society and should be cherished.

    As long as humanity choses to reward hate, greed, selfishness, ego, physical beauty, the acquisition of material wealth and competition against each other over compassion, service, love, self-sacrifice, long suffering and equanimity of resources our societies will continue to degrade. Humanity has never evolved emotionally or spiritually past the point of tribalism. Our technology has advanced, but on the whole we are still just hairless apes wearing skins and hitting each other with clubs for food, shelter and land. As long as we persist in the ignorant conception that this one material life is the sum of all we are and can be, we will remain in darkness and want.

    FEAR is the death of HOPE. GREED is the death of LOVE and EGO is the death of UNITY. Fundamentalist Doctrine is the soil where discord is sown. Unity, Love and Hope can overcome all darkness.

    Peace to all

  1. Rick's Avatar Rick

    Christians are beheaded in some countries for carrying a Bible, and some just because they are Christian. Yet, the perpetrators of those heinous acts come into our Country and demand we treat them with respect for their beliefs. They impose their laws upon us with indifference to our own.

    We are not a Nation against Muslims. We are not a Nation against Muslims practicing their religion in our Country. But having a radical Muslim come here and demand we follow Sharia law is not only against our Constitution, it isn't religious freedom. It deserves no protection under our freedom of religion laws. It's an attempt to overthrow our form of government. As such, any Muslim, or anyone for that matter, attempting to administer another form of government by force in the USA should be removed from our Nation permanently and never be allowed to return. If they kill someone in the process of doing this, then they should be executed without exception or delay.

  1. Sheri Neeley's Avatar Sheri Neeley

    I agree with Rick

  1. Jheri's Avatar Jheri

    As a dancer, my take on all this is that religions are like choreographies. Spiritual life is the improvisational dance of life and Higher Power by whatever name. In our world today, all the choreographies are arguing with each other about whose is best, but the true spiritual people are quietly praying / meditating/ servicing on the sidelines, and thereby improving life on earth in many important if invisible ways.

  1. Jim D.'s Avatar Jim D.

    To be honest, I didn't read most of the comments above... mostly because I feel like I know what the content will be. (I'm not going into detail. Read them for yourself.) The truth is all religions have their pros and cons. It's up to each individual to sift through them and find what works for them personally (but most people just go along with whatever the family has always done). The one con that all religions seem to share is intolerance. Oh sure, we might be taught to be tolerant and to love our fellow man, but there is still that little bit of "our religion is better than your religion" in every faith. After all who would say,"Yeah, we're good, but maybe the church across the street is just a little bit better?"

    As a nation, I feel we are grossly intolerant. After all, much of our foundation was based upon Christian beliefs, and we've clung to them for the past 240 years. And it shows in our leadership. Out of the 44 men that have served as President (Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms), all of them were Christians. Almost half were Episcopalian and Presbyterian. The rest are splashes of everything from Baptist to Unitarian, one Catholic (Kennedy), and three with no formal affiliation (Jefferson, Johnson and Lincoln, but they were no doubt Christians). No Jews, no Muslims, no Buddhists, no Hindus, no atheists, no nothing that isn't one of the 31 flavors of Christianity. So, as Americans, how tolerant are we really?

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