It's Separation of Church and State, Stupid

© Emad Nasry

© Emad Nasry

Not persecution of the Church by the State. Unfortunately for Patriarch “Abune” Antonios of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the government of Eritrea doesn’t think that way. Considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty, he has been under house arrest since January 2006 after continually resisting government interference in religious affairs.

Minority faith groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and over 35 evangelical Christian churches are banned in Eritrea. An estimated 2,000 members of minority evangelical churches which have been outlawed since 2002 are in detention in harsh conditions. Amnesty International has received reports that some detainees have been repeatedly beaten up and tied in painful positions in order to force them to renounce their faith.

In the US, it’s easy to take religious freedom for granted (this may be especially true for Christians?), but clearly not everyone is so lucky. What would you do if your religion or spiritual belief system were banned or oppressed in the country where you live?

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22 thoughts on “It's Separation of Church and State, Stupid

  1. I think it is shameful you are trying to twist things. Although I don't agree with all their methods, they banned aggressive evangelists, because they were financially or otherwise indoctrinating people that have lived peacefully for centuries to be intolerant with each other.
    You don't have to take my word for it, just have a look at Hagee's sermon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUCbHFOmBHQ

    In a country that is already volatile and poor, what they don't need is a new intolerant religion that has a financial backing behind it.
    For your information, moderate Lutherans, Catholics etc have no problem at all.

  2. I think it is shameful you are trying to twist things. Although I don't agree with all their methods, they banned aggressive evangelists, because they were financially or otherwise indoctrinating people that have lived peacefully for centuries to be intolerant with each other.
    You don't have to take my word for it, just have a look at Hagee's sermon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUCbHFOmBHQ

    In a country that is already volatile and poor, what they don't need is a new intolerant religion that has a financial backing behind it.
    For your information, moderate Lutherans, Catholics etc have no problem at all.

  3. I think it is shameful you are trying to twist things. Although I don't agree with all their methods, they banned aggressive evangelists, because they were financially or otherwise indoctrinating people that have lived peacefully for centuries to be intolerant with each other.
    You don't have to take my word for it, just have a look at Hagee's sermon. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUCbHFOmBHQ

    In a country that is already volatile and poor, what they don't need is a new intolerant religion that has a financial backing behind it.
    For your information, moderate Lutherans, Catholics etc have no problem at all.

  4. Simon,
    We Are talking about a Country where the State "Authorizes" Religions. Do you Support Similar Efforts that occur in both Equatorial Guinea and China?
    What about the Great Commission as well?

    Freedom of Religion is Guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It doesn't Say specifically Christianity or Other Religions are. So why are the Political Labels being Placed on Religion?

  5. I think it is shameful you are trying to twist things. Although I don’t agree with all their methods, they banned aggressive evangelists, because they were financially or otherwise indoctrinating people that have lived peacefully for centuries to be intolerant with each other.
    You don’t have to take my word for it, just have a look at Hagee’s sermon.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUCbHFOmBHQ

    In a country that is already volatile and poor, what they don’t need is a new intolerant religion that has a financial backing behind it.
    For your information, moderate Lutherans, Catholics etc have no problem at all.

  6. Simon,
    We Are talking about a Country where the State “Authorizes” Religions. Do you Support Similar Efforts that occur in both Equatorial Guinea and China?
    What about the Great Commission as well?

    Freedom of Religion is Guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It doesn’t Say specifically Christianity or Other Religions are. So why are the Political Labels being Placed on Religion?

  7. I personally take issue with any religion that teaches intolerance, and I strongly dislike when people force their beliefs upon me as "the only way". It is also certainly true that many religions (or the way they are practiced) can find themselves at odds with other aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as rights regarding marriage and reproductive health. Eritrea is definitely not the only country in which some people feel that "religious extremists" have contributed to instability.

    Nevertheless, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion". http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm

    The challenge, as always, is to strike the delicate balance between people's right to freedom of religion, and those other human rights that may seem to be at odds with certain religious beliefs. In my view, the way to confront this challenge is NOT to imprison members of certain faiths simply because of their beliefs. There has to be a better way to find common ground.

  8. I personally take issue with any religion that teaches intolerance, and I strongly dislike when people force their beliefs upon me as "the only way". It is also certainly true that many religions (or the way they are practiced) can find themselves at odds with other aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as rights regarding marriage and reproductive health. Eritrea is definitely not the only country in which some people feel that "religious extremists" have contributed to instability.

    Nevertheless, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion". http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm

    The challenge, as always, is to strike the delicate balance between people's right to freedom of religion, and those other human rights that may seem to be at odds with certain religious beliefs. In my view, the way to confront this challenge is NOT to imprison members of certain faiths simply because of their beliefs. There has to be a better way to find common ground.

  9. I personally take issue with any religion that teaches intolerance, and I strongly dislike when people force their beliefs upon me as "the only way". It is also certainly true that many religions (or the way they are practiced) can find themselves at odds with other aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as rights regarding marriage and reproductive health. Eritrea is definitely not the only country in which some people feel that "religious extremists" have contributed to instability.

    Nevertheless, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that "everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion". http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm

    The challenge, as always, is to strike the delicate balance between people's right to freedom of religion, and those other human rights that may seem to be at odds with certain religious beliefs. In my view, the way to confront this challenge is NOT to imprison members of certain faiths simply because of their beliefs. There has to be a better way to find common ground.

  10. I personally take issue with any religion that teaches intolerance, and I strongly dislike when people force their beliefs upon me as “the only way”. It is also certainly true that many religions (or the way they are practiced) can find themselves at odds with other aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, such as rights regarding marriage and reproductive health. Eritrea is definitely not the only country in which some people feel that “religious extremists” have contributed to instability.

    Nevertheless, Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion”. http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/lang/eng.htm

    The challenge, as always, is to strike the delicate balance between people’s right to freedom of religion, and those other human rights that may seem to be at odds with certain religious beliefs. In my view, the way to confront this challenge is NOT to imprison members of certain faiths simply because of their beliefs. There has to be a better way to find common ground.

  11. To piggyback on earlier posts, while many minority faith groups remain banned in Eritrea, Patriarch Antonios' faith is not on the list. The government recognizes the Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholic, and Muslim faiths as official and has permitted them to function. Although, it has interfered into internal church matters, which relates to Patriarch Antonios’s story. The government of Eritrea began targeting Patriarch Antonios after he participated in a peaceful demonstration in 2005, protesting the arrest of several Orthodox priests. Unfortunately, Patriarch Antonios’s situation is not unique in Eritrea. There continues to be government crackdown on any and all dissent. The actions of the government are not justified in any way, and are in blatant violation of international human rights law

    For more info about the human rights situation in Eritrea I suggest the country page on the Amnesty website: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/eritrea/m

  12. To piggyback on earlier posts, while many minority faith groups remain banned in Eritrea, Patriarch Antonios' faith is not on the list. The government recognizes the Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholic, and Muslim faiths as official and has permitted them to function. Although, it has interfered into internal church matters, which relates to Patriarch Antonios’s story. The government of Eritrea began targeting Patriarch Antonios after he participated in a peaceful demonstration in 2005, protesting the arrest of several Orthodox priests. Unfortunately, Patriarch Antonios’s situation is not unique in Eritrea. There continues to be government crackdown on any and all dissent. The actions of the government are not justified in any way, and are in blatant violation of international human rights law

    For more info about the human rights situation in Eritrea I suggest the country page on the Amnesty website: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/eritrea/m

  13. To piggyback on earlier posts, while many minority faith groups remain banned in Eritrea, Patriarch Antonios' faith is not on the list. The government recognizes the Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholic, and Muslim faiths as official and has permitted them to function. Although, it has interfered into internal church matters, which relates to Patriarch Antonios’s story. The government of Eritrea began targeting Patriarch Antonios after he participated in a peaceful demonstration in 2005, protesting the arrest of several Orthodox priests. Unfortunately, Patriarch Antonios’s situation is not unique in Eritrea. There continues to be government crackdown on any and all dissent. The actions of the government are not justified in any way, and are in blatant violation of international human rights law

    For more info about the human rights situation in Eritrea I suggest the country page on the Amnesty website: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/eritrea/m

  14. To piggyback on earlier posts, while many minority faith groups remain banned in Eritrea, Patriarch Antonios’ faith is not on the list. The government recognizes the Orthodox, Lutheran, Catholic, and Muslim faiths as official and has permitted them to function. Although, it has interfered into internal church matters, which relates to Patriarch Antonios’s story. The government of Eritrea began targeting Patriarch Antonios after he participated in a peaceful demonstration in 2005, protesting the arrest of several Orthodox priests. Unfortunately, Patriarch Antonios’s situation is not unique in Eritrea. There continues to be government crackdown on any and all dissent. The actions of the government are not justified in any way, and are in blatant violation of international human rights law

    For more info about the human rights situation in Eritrea I suggest the country page on the Amnesty website: http://www.amnestyusa.org/all-countries/eritrea/more-on-eritrea/page.do?id=1551001

  15. amnesty international does not have a voice with me until they start to hear the voices of the unborn babies that are being slaughtered daily in clinics all around AMERICA . please stop the killing, the whole process is something from a horror flick. SAVE THE BABIES SAVE THE BABIES SAVE
    THE BABIES

  16. amnesty international does not have a voice with me until they start to hear the voices of the unborn babies that are being slaughtered daily in clinics all around AMERICA . please stop the killing, the whole process is something from a horror flick. SAVE THE BABIES SAVE THE BABIES SAVE
    THE BABIES

  17. The arrest of Antonio was complete violation of his human rights. lliona points out many minor faiths are banned in Eritrea but his religion was not one of them. The act of ppunishment for practically nothing is severly unjust.
    Whilst i respect the beliefs of the state, the beliefs of Antonio should not force him to be punished.
    As a race we do not punish each other for certain beliefs and this article has made me realise my freedom of opinion should not be taken for granted but belief is open to interpretation, belief for hope, belief for good and belief for those that have no other escape to take them beyond this materialsitic world dominated by doubt and fear.