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The Fine Line Between Religious Expression and Oppression

In Russia, Putin's government is embracing Russian Orthodoxy, while cracking down on all other Christian denominations. Labeled as "sects," churches like the Methodist Church are being outlawed.

Anti-western sentiment is one factor motivating the hostile posture toward US-based Protestant groups. Putin's distrust of groups not aligned with the states could also explain the religious intolerance. In addition to Protestants, the Catholic Church faces opposition, and foreign priests are often denied Russian visas.

Meanwhile the state government in Florida might give one religion its stamp of approval. The legislature is considering specialty plates with a Christian cross, stained glass windows, and the words "I Believe." This would be the first state license plate featuring a purely religious logo.

Do you see any similarities between these two state endorsements of religion, or is Russia a case of oppression, while Florida is a case of expression? By choosing one specific religion to promote on a plate, is Florida effectively oppressing the others? Should other messages, perhaps more controversial, be allowed? Could there be an "I Don't Believe" plate?


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