World News and Trends: Religious freedom on the wane worldwide

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Religious freedom on the wane worldwide

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Nearly a third of the globe's population—2.2 billion people—live in countries where religious persecution increased between 2006 and 2009" (Thomas Kidd, "Religious Freedom Under Assault," USA Today, Aug. 22, 2011).

The Arab Spring has not lessened the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Christian minorities face a new era of religious hostility there. For instance, Coptic Christians in Egypt have already experienced anti-Christian incidents, including church burnings and murder.

In northern Europe, it's happening in nations like Britain as well. The Daily Telegraph reported: "There is no place in British law for Christian beliefs, despite this country's long history of religious observance and the traditions of the established Church, two High Court judges said yesterday" in ruling that a particular husband and wife could not be foster parents because of their Christian views (Tim Ross, "'No Place' in the Law for Christianity," March 1, 2011).

Telltale signs already exist that religious freedom is waning even in the United States, with persecution correspondingly increasing. A husband and wife in southern California were fined $300 for hosting Bible studies in their home for friends. Added fines for $500 per each Bible study were promised if they continue with them. (Sources: The Daily Telegraph [London], USA Today, Faith Under Fire).