On July 20, 2020 faith leaders of the US State Department’s Commission on Unalienable Rights united their concerns and stressed- a person should be entitled to have the basic right to freedom of conscience and belief which is known as religious freedom. But what exactly is religious freedom? It is much more than freely offering worship, doing prayer, or gathering with many believers. It is a right that protects individuals from not going against their own core values and beliefs to conform to the government. God is the main entity for basic rights, not the government. This is not only applicable to the United States but religions across the world because it is what makes us human. Yet, religious groups globally are currently struggling to have such a right.
A Pew research study showed that 80 percent of individuals international suffer high restrictions on religious freedom. Such a statistic creates a fear that nations cannot reach their fullest potential if individuals are marginalized simply for practicing their faith. Despite if one is a believer or a nonbeliever, one can agree that there is a lot of religious persecution like emaciating, killing, and threatening religious individuals. This conflict will not result in a more civilized society. In China, more than a million Muslims have been forced to be incarcerated in concentration camps and the government has concealed the conditions of the camps from journalists and foreign investigators. The Uighur, a Chinese minority group who are Muslims, have been known to be missing and even dying in the camps. In India’s capital, Muslims have been horrifically killed or even burned alive. Hindus are not only creating mobs to oppress Muslims but even the police officers. Officials are participating in violating the religious liberty of religious minority groups. A year ago nearly two million religious people were removed from the citizenship list in India state of Assam which shows that even citizenship is taken away due to one’s faith.
Recently there has been a religious group not only being oppressed by practicing their life of faith but even blamed for the epidemic of COVID-19 in South Korea. A Shincheonji member known as Patient 31 attended service and infected other members prior to being tested positive. City government officials have now filed claims against Shincheonji and 12 leaders for homicide and breaking the Infectious Disease and Control Act. False accusations have prohibited their churches to be opened, their cultural and charitable activities have been suspended and thousands of members have been discriminated against in public spaces.
Religious freedom is now to be taken for serious consideration because now practicing faith is leaving many innocent people in the shadows and risking injustice. Religious freedom is an unalienable right ensuring we as humans can seek the truth and live based on our consciences; therefore, attention to this issue is of significance.