Religion is a unique facet of human life. It is something that almost everyone pursues, finds, and ultimately believe their religion is the only true religion being practiced. Now replicate that through 50,000 Christian denominations, various views of Islam, and add in the multiple other religions and you have societies that are ripe for religious discrimination.
Since 1997, religious discrimination incidents have doubled in employer related incidents in the United States.
The problem with religious discrimination is that in the quest to find tolerance, humanity is actually finding intolerance. These statistics prove that it doesn’t matter which religion someone practices. Someone will invariably attempt to discriminate against those religious beliefs.
- Christians are the most-discriminated against religious group, experiencing harassment by the government and society in 168 countries in a study conducted from 2006-2010.
- Islam is the second largest religious group and second most discriminated against group in the world, with harassment experienced in 121 countries.
- 33% of the world’s countries actively harass women over their style of religious dress.
- Although Judaism only makes up 1% of the total population, they are the third most discriminated against religious group in the world.
- In 2009 alone, 50% of the world saw an increase in the amount religious discrimination being practiced within their borders.
- In 30 different countries, the head of state for that nation must belong to a certain religious faith.
With people saying that they practice a specific religion at a rate of 90% of the population in some countries, it cannot just be the non-religious that are discriminating against people. There has to be a component of discrimination coming from religious circles as well to account for the high levels that are occurring around the world. What does this mean? In all practical terms, it means that people who say they are religious are not actually becoming informed about the tenents of their religion. They are simply hearing what others have to say, owning those beliefs, and never do any research on their own.
Is Religious Discrimination Frequently Practiced?
- 33%. That’s the percentage of countries in the world today that have at least one religious symbol on their flag.
- 31 different countries represent Christianity because of the religious imagery in their flags, whether intended or unintended.
- The number of nations that represent Islamic symbols on their flags: 21.
- Only Israel has the symbol of Judaism on their national flag.
- In Lebanon, the president is required to be a Christian, but the prime minister is required to be a Muslim.
- Only 2 nations have a requirement to place a Christian in office [Andorra is the other]. 17 nations have a required to place a Muslim in office.
- Atheists are so discriminated against in the United States that many states do not allow them to hold political office.
What is unique about religion is the fact that the religious populations of the world tend to be highly concentrated in specific areas. Half of the world’s population exists in just 6 nations, but religious concentrations are even tighter than this. What this causes is a dualistic society. In highly concentrated areas, religious discrimination is present in great amounts. Outside of the concentrated areas, religious discrimination rates fall. This just goes to show further that religions are discriminating against each other more than the non-religious population groups.
How Fast Is Religious Discrimination Increasing?
- 70% of the hate crimes that are religiously motivated are directed against Jews.
- Since 2001, the number of anti-Muslim crimes in the United States has seen a 17x increase. A similar spike was seen after the Oklahoma City bombing, which wasn’t conducted by Muslims.
- Americans believe that Muslims are 2x more likely to experience discrimination compared to atheists or Mormons.
It is also important to note that it isn’t just religion vs. religion that is causing discrimination. Religious discrimination also occurs because of different beliefs within a religion itself. This can be seen in protestant vs. Catholic conflicts, shiite vs. sunni conflicts, and other inter-religion issues. On the surface, it would almost be safe to say that the world would be a better place without religion at all. If people cannot follow the teachings of their own faith, then what kind of faith do they actually have? Christians have a right to say they are the most discriminated against religion in the world today, but one important question must be asked: how much of that discrimination is being caused by other Christians?