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- International Journal for Religious Freedom
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- Volume 5, Issue 2, 2012
International Journal for Religious Freedom - Volume 5, Issue 2, 2012
Volume 5, Issue 2, 2012
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 5 –6 (2012)More Less
Religious persecution is a phenomenon experienced by many adherents of various religions worldwide. In some contexts it is not outright persecution, but believers face serious challenges to the free exercise of religion. A common theme that unites most articles of this issue of IJRF is the encountering of persecution. What precisely are the challenges that believers, and particularly Christians, face in various contexts? How do they cope with it? How do they react? Which role do theological interpretations play? Another question connected to the documentation of persecution is how it can be measured, and whether trans-national comparisons are possible.
Author Bernhard ReitsmaSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 7 –9 (2012)More Less
Increasingly evangelical Christians are attracted by the so-called health, wealth and prosperity "gospel." The central claim of this teaching is that a true believer in Christ can count on being blessed by God in all areas of life. Accordingly a believer should not have to be sick and will lead a long, wealthy and prosperous life. Since Christ has conquered sin, Christians no longer have to experience the consequences of sin: pain, suffering and poverty.
Brother against brother - could South Korea's mega-churches ultimately pose a bigger threat to the North Korean underground church than Kim Il-Sung? : in my opinionAuthor Hyun Sook FoleySource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 11 –19 (2012)More Less
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 21 –36 (2012)More Less
The "World Watch List" (WWL) of the advocacy agency Open Doors annually scores and ranks the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is worst. In view of its broad use by the media as well as criticism, the questionnaire for the WWL has been revised. This article examines the methodological challenges involved in measuring religious persecution with a focus on the questionnaire design. The WWL is placed in the context of other instruments for measuring religious freedom/persecution and the criticism of the WWL is analyzed. Questionnaire-related issues involve the selection of questions, their grouping and their balancing. Measuring and weighing indicators, the coding of questionnaires, and how to arrive at a final score for a country are discussed. Various problems such as variations within inhomogeneous countries, delimitation, transparency and feasibility are addressed.
Author William C. DuncanSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 37 –50 (2012)More Less
The context for understanding President Barack Obama's mandate that all employers, including religious ones, must provide free contraception and sterilization to their employees is historical. The United States Constitutional system values the accommodation of religious practices, in contrast to Revolutionary France, which attempted to conscript religious groups and clergy to advance government programs. For much of its history, the United States has pursued this policy of accommodation, but recently, increasing government power has created conflicts with religious practice leading to the mandate and similar government incursions. These appear to represent a shift to the French Revolution's policy of conscription.
Author Shaun De FreitasSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 51 –61 (2012)More Less
The South African Constitutional Court has not yet been confronted with having to make a finding on the status of the unborn against the background of the South African Bill of Rights. Expecting that the Constitutional Court will sometime in the future be approached in this regard, this article presents some preparatory foundational insights on what the approach of the said Court should be. In this regard, the law-making function of the judiciary and the importance of an informative and rational approach towards the protection of the unborn in the judicial process are emphasised. A more nuanced approach by the judiciary towards the status of the unborn will provide more sensitivity towards matters which overlap with the practice of religion on the one hand and the protection of the unborn on the other. Examples in this regard are conscientious objections by medical practitioners against partaking in abortions due to their religious beliefs, and the dissemination of ethical or jurisprudential knowledge of the unborn to students in secular institutions of education who, in accordance with their religious beliefs, oppose the termination of the unborn. Religious institutions which oppose abortions will also be obligated by their own tenets to form part of such a judicial process, and this is allowed for by the Constitutional Court of South Africa.
Author Benyamin F. IntanSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 63 –77 (2012)More Less
Religious violence in Indonesia remains a serious problem today. The main players are the state, which performs politicization of religion, and religious groups that insist on hegemony. In particular, Islamic politics demand special treatments under the pretext of being a majority religion. Such pressures include discriminatively defining religion, which fits only with Indonesian official religions, and producing regulations that are discriminative towards animistic religions and other minority religions. This article will focus on religious violence in Indonesia, which is carried out by the state and various religious groups, and will propose solutions from a Christian perspective.
Author Branko BjelajacSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 79 –91 (2012)More Less
The government of the newly founded Kingdom of Yugoslavia severely persecuted the Nazarenes mostly for their refusal to swear an oath to take up arms. Thousands of them were prosecuted and sentenced to long prison sentences, while the government refused to make a special case for them. The only reason for the government's treatment was an unfounded fear that their "defeatism" was a national security threat. Some talks and attempts to help from abroad did not yield desirable results. The government also actively supported a split among the Nazarenes, showing favor to the side interested in cooperation.
Reflections on the psychological stressors and issues that children of believers from Muslim backgrounds face - developing a framework for a better understanding of the relevant issuesAuthor Daniel OngSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 93 –109 (2012)More Less
This article reflects on legal, missiological, criminological and psychological documentation and experiences that believers from Muslim backgrounds (BMBs) face. Conclusions drawn from these areas help develop a framework to understand some of the psychological stressors and issues that children of BMBs face within the state schooling system and their community. Practitioners such as human rights and advocacy specialists, missionaries and counsellors could benefit by reflecting on these issues. The main contribution of this article is the novel way in which it ties the various issues into a four-pronged, holistic framework surrounding a child's identity to augment clarity of discussion, research and intervention.
Theological education in the context of persecution and economic hardship - focus on TEE in Central AsiaAuthor Anneta VyssotskaiaSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 111 –122 (2012)More Less
This article examines the issue of theological education in the context of persecution and economic hardship. The author focuses on theological education by extension (TEE) as a key tool for the theological education of the persecuted and economically poor believers in the Central Asian countries that were once part of the USSR. The traditional TEE components suit the needs of the churches in that region allowing to flexibly provide continuous theological education in a difficult and challenging persecution context. The low cost of producing TEE study materials makes them a good solution for the churches experiencing economic difficulties.
Author Dwi Maria HandayaniSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 123 –133 (2012)More Less
Christians have discouraged the use of lament for various reasons. In Indonesia I never heard any single sermon preached on lament even though we have experienced many sufferings, persecutions and calamities. Current scholarly works on these psalms focus on their genre, life settings, and other academic considerations. However, in its life and practice the contemporary church is largely ignorant of the lament Psalms. The question is, how can we use them practically in our modern church setting? This article will answer this question through the usage of lament psalms as spiritual formation model for persecuted Indonesian churches.
Author David Van DrunenSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 135 –146 (2012)More Less
This article presents a Protestant defense of a natural law right to religious freedom, properly understood. Though arguing from the classic natural law text, Romans 1:18-32, that human persons have no ultimate natural law right to religious freedom before God, this article finds strong support in the account of God's covenant with Noah in Genesis 8:20-9:17 that human persons do have a penultimate natural law right to religious freedom before fellow human beings, a blessing granted by God.
The Christian claim for universal human rights in relation to natural law - two perspectives : IIRF reportsSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 147 –160 (2012)More Less
In this article the author analyzes and compares two contrary perspectives on the role of natural moral law in Christian ethics, especially in Christian public claims for universally valid moral principles and values such as those underlying the concept of universal human rights and the corresponding notion of religious freedom. The first perspective under consideration is presented in the published works of the Czech Christian human rights activist and defender of religious freedom Božena Komárková, the second perspective is presented in the writings of the American Reformed theologian Thomas K. Johnson.
Interim report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
United Nations General Assembly, A/67/303 Summary, distributed 13 August 2012 : documentationSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5 (2012)More Less
In the present report, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, provides an overview of his mandate activities since the submission of the previous report to the General Assembly (A/66/156), including his country visits, communications and other activities.
Source: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 163 –168 (2012)More Less
The noteworthy items are structured in five groups: Conferences and news, annual reports and global surveys, regional and country reports, specific issues, and journals and articles. Though we apply serious criteria in the selection of items noted, it is beyond our capacity to scrutinize the accuracy of every statement made. We therefore disclaim responsibility for the contents of the items noted. The compilation was in part produced by the interns Ashley Berry and Lauren E Johnson and edited by Dr. Stephen Baskerville and Dr. Christof Sauer. Submissions welcome to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silenced: How apostasy and blasphemy codes are choking freedom worldwide, Paul Marshall, Nina Shea : book reviewAuthor Christine SchirrmacherSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 169 –171 (2012)More Less
The "think tank" of the Hudson Center for Religious Freedom in Washington (USA) has drawn attention to itself for years with solid professional publications on a large range of political themes, among them the themes of religious freedom, Islam, and Islamism. The present monograph is devoted to a subject that, on the whole, has been only seldom treated: apostasy and blasphemy, that is, the defection from Islam and blasphemy and its consequences. With this extensive study, Paul Marshall (Senior Fellow) and Nina Shea (Director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute) offer a comprehensive insight into the realm of the, in part, extremely limited freedom of opinion and religion in Islamic-dominated states.
Censored: How European "hate speech" laws are threatening freedom of speech, Paul Coleman : book reviewAuthor Jan MazakSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 171 –172 (2012)More Less
"When should freedom of speech be limited in a free society?" (p. 3). As the author notes, the answer to this question is far from easy. However, while some limitations on speech will always exist, ill-conceived hate speech laws enforced through penal law should never be considered to be a valid restriction on speech. This is the view taken by Coleman as he considers hate speech laws in the European context.
Living together with disagreement: Pluralism, the secular, and the fair treatment of beliefs in law today, Iain T. Benson : book reviewSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 173 –174 (2012)More Less
Words matter; definitions are important. And this is especially true with regard to the global discussion of freedom of religion and the role of religions within societies. Iain T. Benson has offered definitions which, though rooted primarily in his thoughtful critique of legal developments within multi-cultural Canada, hold promise for reasonable solutions on the international level. In this little book Benson offers thoughtful definitions of a small number of words which are crucial for the discussion of how religion and the state should be related in decisions coming from the courts: secular, secularism, pluralism, religion, belief, and conduct. Some can be summarized.
Religious Freedom: Why Now? Defending an Embattled Human Right, Timothy Samuel Shah; Matthew J. Franck, (Ed-in-chief), Thomas F. Farr, David Novak, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Abdullah Saeed : book reviewSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 174 –176 (2012)More Less
This is a very important book which summarizes and analyses some of the deepest and most urgent matters of public and religious life. It is the result of a two day meeting in May 2011, in which 30 experts with a wide range of academic disciplines and professional experience from a variety of religious traditions discussed the basis, condition, importance, and future of religious freedom. Everyone teaching civics, social studies, religion, or ethics at the secondary or university level should read it, as well as people in the foreign service of their countries and religious leaders.
Religion and the Global Politics of Human Rights, Thomas Banchoff and Robert Wuthnow (Eds.) : book reviewAuthor James Nkansah-ObrempongSource: International Journal for Religious Freedom 5, pp 176 –177 (2012)More Less
The book argues that democratization of Africa, Latin American and Asia has empowered religious groups to participate freely on matters of human rights in their particular social and political contexts. However, these religious groups often face resistance from the "state" and from "other social actors." Nevertheless, in recent decades religion and the global politics of human rights have become bedfellows. Most scholars agree that religion and human rights needs each other.