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.
Due to their belief in the "Idea of Progress", left-wingers and even establishment "conservatives" believe that humanity is advancing and improving. Since they consider theologically conservative and orthodox Christianity to be "outdated," "archaic," or "narrow-minded," they believe that wiping out biblical Christian beliefs will only enhance progress and remove an obstacle to the betterment of humanity. Thus, despite the total lack of evidence, biblical Christian beliefs thought in love are increasingly considered "hate speech" or a "hate crime." Left-wing organizations such as Americans United for Separation of Church and State have fought against religious freedom for Christians in the United States.
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.
- The Obama Administration and media's attitude toward a notable incident regarding homeschooling raised concerns over the future of the freedom to homeschool in the U.S. In 2008, a Christian homeschooling family traveled to the U.S. and applied for asylum in order to exercise their right to homeschool their children and give them a religious education. Very few mainstream media agencies reported this notable incident. The Obama Administration opposed the granting of asylum and sought to deport the family. The administration argued in court that homeschooling was not a fundamental right and that the U.S. government could legally ban it and that the family's religious liberty was not being violated because not all homeschoolers are religious and because not all Christians want to homeschool (thus "suggesting that religious freedom is only the freedom to conform to a religious group, not the freedom to have individual religious convictions"). While the Department of Homeland Security ultimately chose not to deport the family, the Obama Administration's legal reasoning had a major potential impact on religious freedom, as it could be used in the future to ban homeschooling in the U.S., hinder parents from being able to give their children a religious education, and assert that government – not parents – has the final authority over children.
- In February 2018, a judge in Hamilton County, Ohio, took away the custody of a 17-year-old gender-confused daughter from her parents because they would not allow her to undergo a sex change operation due to their religious beliefs.
- In October 2017, Wayne State University, a public institution, de-recognized InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as the student group required its members to be Christians.
- United Kingdom
- See also: Persecution of Christians by homosexuals in UK
- 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 2014, the UK government banned the teaching of creationism in every school that receives government funding. 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." In 2018, the UK Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills gave a Christian school its lowest ranking possible for quality of learning because it taught creationism and integrated its biblical values into its curriculum (aka. giving its students a Christian education, as a Christian school). These are only a few of many examples of social persecution in the West, regarding 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 November 2017, Tim Farron, a Christian and the former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party who resigned due to the incompatibility of his faith and his position, admitted that social persecution of Christianity is a real thing and that the culture sees it as dangerous.
- In 2016, the French Senate passed a bill making it illegal to post pro-life information on the internet. In February 2017, both houses of the French parliament passed the bill, with the National Assembly's more severe and broad wording ultimately being adopted. As of March 2017, the bill was being reviewed by France's Constitutional Council. Regardless, this law would effectively criminalize the freedom of speech (at least on the internet) of those who support the true human right to life for unborn human beings, and it illustrates the opposition to equal rights in the country. France is already spiritually dead.
- Germany's government – like the governments of numerous other European countries – strongly opposes homeschooling, and homeschooling has been illegal in the country since the Third Reich enacted a law on this matter in 1938. The German government bans homeschooling because it argues it must "counteract the development of religious and philosophically motivated parallel societies," something which nullifies religious freedom and parental control. In 2013, for example, German authorities confiscated four homeschooled children from a Christian family who homeschooled in order to give their children a Christian education – the German government did this simply because the parents were not sending their children to the government school. In 2008, a German homeschooling family traveled to the U.S. and applied for asylum, something which they were guaranteed in 2014.
- 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.
- The Canadian government is adopting an increasingly statist ideology which does not respect religious liberty for Christians.
- 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 2017, the Canadian government chose to ban employers who oppose abortion or homosexual "marriage" from being able to receive summer job grants for students, and in March 2018, the Canadian House of Commons voted 207–93 against reversing the requirement that employers sign an attestation affirming their support for such issues.
- In January 2018, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau indicated that pro-life speech is not protected speech. When asked on where the Canadian government limits free speech, Trudeau mentioned abortion, stating that "an organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion, the right for women to control their own bodies, is not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society."
- The Canadian state of Ontario enacted a bill in 2017 that banned pro-life speech around abortion clinics.
- 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.
- Williams, Thomas D. (February 22, 2018). Anti-Christian Group Declares War on Religious Freedom in Trump’s America. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
- 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.
- Huston, Warner Todd (February 1, 2010). Homeschooling German Family Awarded Political Asylum in U.S., Where is U.S. Media? Breitbart News. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Berry, Susan (April 23, 2017). German Homeschooling Family Seeks to Stop Obama Admin Deportation Order. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Berry, Susan (March 29, 2017). Obama Admin Opposes Asylum for German Homeschooling Family. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Looy, Mark (April 29, 2013). Homeschooled and Now Without a Home to School In? Answers in Genesis. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Berry, Susan (March 4, 2014). Homeland Security Will Not Deport German Christian Homeschoolers the Romeikes. Breitbart News. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Richardson, Bradford (February 20, 2018). Religious parents lose custody of transgender teen for refusing hormone treatment. The Washington Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
- Berry, Susan (February 19, 2018). Parents Lose Custody of Daughter for Opposing Transgender Medical Treatments. Breitbart News. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
- Tennant, Michael (February 21, 2018). Parents’ Custody of Teenager Stripped Because They Oppose Her Gender Change. The New American. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
- Parke, Caleb (March 7, 2018). Christian group sues Michigan university after it is kicked off campus. Fox News. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
After a lawsuit threat, the university allowed back the Christian group:
- Parke, Caleb (March 9, 2018). Wayne State reverses school's decision to boot Christian group off campus. Fox News. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- 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.
- Sevcik, JC (June 18, 2014). Teaching creationism as scientifically valid now banned in all UK public schools. UPI. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Turpin, Simon (February 4, 2016). Teacher Ridiculed for Saying Evolution Is Not a Fact. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- Burgess, Kaya (February 16, 2018). Primary pupils taught creationism in science lessons at Kings Kids Christian School. The Times. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- Kumar, Anugrah (February 18, 2018). UK School Punished for Teaching Creation, Bible; Kids Saying Other Faiths Follow 'False Gods'. The Christian Post. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
- 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.
- Williams, Thomas D. (November 29, 2017). Liberal Democrat Tim Farron Warns That Christians Now Deemed as ‘Dangerous’ and Unsuitable for Politics. Breitbart News. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
- McMorris, Bill (December 7, 2016). French Senate Passes Pro-Life Website Ban. The Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Smits, Jeanne (February 17, 2017). France passes law imposing up to two years prison for running pro-life websites. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Byas, Steve (February 21, 2017). France Criminalizes Pro-life Speech. The New American. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Camp, Frank (February 19, 2017). France Passes Speech Law That Could Cripple the Pro-Life Movement. The Daily Wire. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Hurd, Dale (March 11, 2017). Strangling the Pro-Life Movement: What in the World Is Going on in France?. CBN News. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- Morrison, Robert (April 4, 2017). France Reneges On Equal Rights For All By Banning Pro-Life Websites. The Federalist. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
- International Homeschooling on Shaky Ground. Answers in Genesis. October 1, 2007. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- Ham, Ken (September 22, 2013). Germany Against Homeschooling. Answers in Genesis. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Crossland, Kiley (April 17, 2017). German family continues fight to homeschool. Baptist Press. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Mitchell, Elizabeth (September 7, 2013). Government Seizes Homeschooling Children—Whose Kids Are They? Answers in Genesis. Retrieved December 24, 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.
- Schutten, André (March 14, 2018). What’s next? The growth of Statism in Canada. Reformed Perspective. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- 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.
- Laurence, Lianne (December 14, 2017). BREAKING: Canada won’t fund student summer jobs unless employers support abortion. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Cannolly, Amanda (December 15, 2017). Canada Summer Jobs program will no longer fund anti-abortion, anti-gay groups. Global News. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
- Duke, Selwyn (January 23, 2018). Canadian Government: Christian Students Need Not Apply. The New American. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Mainwaring, Doug (March 19, 2018). Canadian Parliament votes down motion against pro-abortion oath for gov’t funding. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- Richardson, Bradford (January 13, 2018). Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau scolds pro-lifers as ‘not in line’ with society. The Washington Times. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
- Laurence, Lianne (January 13, 2018). Trudeau: Believe what you want, but ‘we draw the line’ if you try to restrict abortion. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
- Laurence, Lianne (February 21, 2018). 70-year-old man first to be arrested under Ontario’s new ban on pro-life speech. LifeSiteNews. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
- 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.