Religious freedom is the right to espouse the religion of one's choice, or none. Religious freedom is guaranteed in the constitution of the United States and is a commonplace in democratic countries. However, in many states and countries, secular and atheistic policies, particularly in the field of education, form in effect a restriction on religious liberties. Examples include the ban on classroom prayer in the United States, and opposition to the teaching of any alternatives to the discredited Theory of Evolution in many western nations.
The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom reported in May 2017 that religious freedom around the world was "worsening in both the depth and breadth of violations."
Religious freedom is seen as a grave danger by Communist regimes—very few religious freedoms are given in China, and under Communist rule religion was banned outright in Albania—and by strict Islamic regimes such as those in Iran and (particularly) Saudi Arabia.
Ann Coulter said,
- "For as long as I can remember, liberals have been running around in a state of indignation, shouting that the government is being taken over by a dangerous band of religious fanatics who want to abolish the First Amendment, establish a national religion, force their bizarre sexual morality on children in public schools, rewrite the nation's laws to enforce their personal moral preferences, and punish anyone who dissents from their views. Unfortunately it's all true. That's precisely what liberals are trying to do." 
Hyung Jin Moon said,
- "If we don’t stand up for our own religious rights, nobody will." 
Examples of restrictions on religious freedom in the West
- See also: Christian persecution
Despite the fact that many people, particularly left-wingers, consider the West to be the "free world" due to leftist policies, Christians and others who espouse conservative or unpopular views (which interestingly were considered mainstream only a few generations prior) have experienced increasing levels of persecution in Western countries, whether socially or legally. Increasingly, it is considered "dangerous" or "evil" to hold legitimate biblical Christian or conservative views that (despite the fact they are completely legitimate and sincerely held) contradict the leftist "consensus" or to pass them on to the next generation.
This is a very non-exhaustive list of restrictions on religious freedom that Christians have experienced in the supposedly "free world" since the turn of the century:
- General examples
- Any biblical Christian in the West who voices or acts upon their sincerely-held, biblically-based beliefs for biblical creation or biblical marriage will (at least) receive harsh scorn from others (and many of those "others" view themselves as "tolerant" of people with opposing views).
- Homeschooling is illegal in much of the supposedly "free West", forcibly removing children from their parents and subjecting them to be indoctrinated by the leftist governments or private schools that do not support biblical Christianity.
- United States
- Numerous Christians, whether business owners or other people, such as Kim Davis or Roy Moore, have been persecuted in various ways (lawsuits, loss of business, arrest, etc.) for holding on to their sincerely-held beliefs and refusing to bow down to the homosexual agenda.
- In a government report released in 2016, Martin R. Castro, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, stated that "The phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance."
- In 2014, the mayor of Houston, a leftist and the first openly-homosexual mayor of the city, briefly issued subpoenas on pastors, ordering them to turn over sermons concerning homosexuality.
- United Kingdom
- In 2010, a Christian street preacher was arrested for causing "harassment, alarm or distress" by calling homosexuality a sinful practice according to biblical teachings. In 2015, another street preacher was fined for calling homosexuality an abomination.
- A pastor in Northern Ireland was charged and tried for making comments (in 2014) in one of his sermons against Islam that were considered "grossly offensive." Although he was found not guilty (in 2016), he should have never been tried in the first place, as Christians should be able to freely express and advocate their biblically-based theological positions.
- In 2016, a teacher at an Anglican school in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire was harshly criticized for stating on Twitter (in response to another teacher) that "Evolution is not a fact. That’s why it’s called a theory! There’s more evidence that the Bible is true." This is just one of many, many examples of social persecution in the West, concerning numerous subjects, including creation science, the pseudoscientific theory of evolution, and homosexuality.
- In early 2017, two Christian street preachers in Bristol were convicted for quoting the King James Bible in public because they supposedly used "threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person . . . and the offence was religiously aggravated."
- In 2016, the French Senate passed a bill making it illegal to post pro-life information on the internet, effectively criminalizing the freedom of speech (at least on the internet) of those who support the true human right to life for unborn human beings. As of 2016, the bill is likely to be signed into law by the French Prime Minister. France is already spiritually dead.
- In 2017, a Swedish local government unit forced a Christian preschool to ban prayer to God under the country's Education Act, but the preschoolers were subsequently instructed to thank the sun and the rain before meals. Also in 2017, the Prime Minister of Sweden stated in an interview that Swedish state church priests should "marry" homosexual couples regardless of what they think of it, and that they should leave their positions if they don't do it. In 2017, the Swedish Labour Court of Appeal ruled that a pro-life midwife can be forced to perform abortions even if she objects. As of August 2017, the case is being appealed in the European Court of Human Rights.
- In 2017, a local Canadian school district, the Battle River School Division, ordered a Christian school to stop teaching "offensive" passages from the Bible, something that would alter the Christian message and omit key portions of the Bible from being taught.
In July 2017, the Queensland Department of Education and Training issued an unofficial policy banning Christmas cards, any reference to Jesus, or anything else that might be seen as Christian evangelizing by primary school students.
- New Zealand
In 2017, Family First, a socially conservative organization that supports marriage being defined as between a man and a woman, had its status as a charitable organization taken away by the Charities Registration Board due to its stance on marriage.
- Williams, Thomas D., PhD (May 16, 2017). Report: International Religious Freedom Worsening in both ‘Depth and Breadth’. Breitbart News. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Showalter, Brandon (September 9, 2016). Religious Freedom Is 'Code Word' for Bigotry, Christian Supremacy, US Civil Rights Commissioner Says. The Christian Post. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Kellner, Mark A. (September 8, 2016). ‘Religious freedom,’ ‘liberty’ just ‘code words’ for intolerance, U.S. Civil Rights chairman says. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Chairman of U.S. Commission on Civil Rights calls the phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and Christian supremacy. Religion News Service. September 8, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Carter, Joe (September 13, 2016). U.S. Civil Rights Commission: ‘Religious Freedom’ Is Code Word for Racism, Homophobia, and ‘Christian Supremacy’. The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Starnes, Todd (October 14, 2014). City of Houston demands pastors turn over sermons. Fox News. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Starnes, Todd (October 29, 2014). Houston mayor drops bid to subpoena pastors' sermons. Fox News. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Hallowell, Billy (August 3, 2015). Houston Gov’t Subpoenaed Pastors’ Sermons. Now, They’re Fighting Back. The Blaze. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Blake, Heidi (May 2, 2010). Christian preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin. The Telegraph. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- Tufft, Ben (March 29, 2015). Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'. The Independent. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- Turpin, Simon (January 8, 2016). Northern Ireland Pastor Not Guilty of Criticising Islam. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Weatherbe, Steve (March 2, 2017). Christian street preachers arrested, fined for ‘challenging Muslims,’ ‘homophobia’. LifeSite News. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- Berrien, Hank (August 3, 2017). These British Pastors Were Just Arrested For ‘Challenging Muslims’. The Daily Wire. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
- Turpin, Simon (February 4, 2016). Teacher Ridiculed for Saying Evolution Is Not a Fact. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- Turpin, Simon (March 6, 2017). The Loss of Free Speech in the UK and How We Should React as Christians. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- McMorris, Bill (December 7, 2016). French Senate Passes Pro-Life Website Ban. The Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Chretien, Claire (June 28, 2017). Gov’t bans prayer to God; Christian preschool forced to thank ‘sun and rain’ for meals instead. LifeSite News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Hale, Virginia (June 26, 2017). Christian Preschoolers Banned from Saying ‘Amen’, Talking About the Bible. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Preschoolers in Sweden Banned from Saying 'Amen,' Mentioning the Bible. CBN News. June 29, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Chretien, Claire (June 28, 2017). Swedish PM: Priests unwilling to ‘marry’ same-sex couples should ‘do something else’. LifeSite News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Tomlinson, Chris (August 6, 2017). Swedish PM to Force Priests to Conduct Gay Marriages, Compares them With Abortions. Breitbart News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- 'All priests should wed same-sex couples': Swedish PM. The Local. June 23, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Hurd, Dale (June 23, 2017). Swedish Prime Minister: Priests Should Be Forced to Perform Same-Sex Weddings. CBN News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Chretien, Claire (April 12, 2017). Pro-life midwife can be forced to do abortions, court rules. LifeSite News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Chretien, Claire (April 21, 2017). Pro-life midwife ordered to do abortions or lose her job takes case to European human rights court. LifeSite News. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Canadian District Bans Christian School from Teaching 'Offensive' Parts of Bible. CBN News. June 22, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Haskins, Justin (June 24, 2017). Canadian Christian school under attack for teaching ‘offensive’ Bible verses. The Blaze. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Foley, Avery (August 6, 2017). Canada Forces Government Speech and Bans Bible Verses. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Urban, Rebecca (July 27, 2017). Jesus unwelcome in schoolyard crackdown. The Australian. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Caldwell, Felicity (July 27, 2017). Unholy row over religious instruction in Queensland schools. Brisbane Times. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Goins-Phillips, Tré (July 27, 2017). Australian state faces backlash after proposing school-wide ‘Jesus ban’ in name of ‘inclusivity’. The Blaze. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- McPhee, Sam (July 26, 2017). 'It's a massive assault on free speech': Christmas cards and the word 'Jesus' could be BANNED in schoolyards in a bid to increase religious inclusiveness. Daily Mail. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Ham, Ken (August 19, 2017). Is Jesus Not Welcome in Australian Schools?. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
- Ham, Ken (September 12, 2017). New Zealand Group Supporting Traditional Marriage Loses Charity Status. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved September 12, 2017.