Promises, Practices, and Consequences of Religious Freedom: A Global Overview


Relying on recent cross-national data collections, this paper documents the discrepancy between the promise and practice of religious freedoms across the globe, reviews new data sources to better explain why and how religious freedoms are denied, and explores recent research to identify the consequences of these actions. We find that, despite constitutional promises of religious freedom remaining high, the level and severity of the restrictions on religion have consistently increased for the past twenty-five years. Societal pressures, government favoritism of a single religion, an independent judiciary, and free elections all prove to be strong predictors for the level of religious freedom supported. Finally, the denial of religious freedom, both the restrictions enacted by the state and by societal actors, are associated with higher levels of violence.

University of St. Thomas Law Journal, 15(3): 587-606
Dane R. Mataic
Dane R. Mataic
Assistant Professor of Sociology

My research explores the intersection of mobilization, international conflict, and social inequalities.