I came across an article about a Malaysian woman jailed for worshiping a giant teapot which I thought might be, at the very least, amusing. Unfortunately, the lady and the late lamented Teapot cult were really just subtext to a much more disturbing situation.
While Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of worship, it is currently interpreted as meaning you are free to worship as your parents did. Kamariah Ali, our teapot worshiper, is being jailed under Sharia law since she was born a Muslim. Never mind, that she no long self-identifies as one, the Malaysian constitution defines all ethnic Malays as Muslim and Muslims in Malaysia are subject to the Sharia courts.
This is particularly poignant in light of the recent Pew Forum survey on the U.S. Religious Landscape which shows that about a quarter of Americans exercise their freedom of religion by choosing not to practice the faith of their parents. This is the expression of freedom of religion only possible where there is a complete secular constitution and separation of church and state.
“If you have a faith, it is statistically overwhelmingly likely that it is the same faith as your parents and grandparents had. No doubt soaring cathedrals, stirring music, moving stories and parables, help a bit. But by far the most important variable determining your religion is the accident of birth. The convictions that you so passionately believe would have been a completely different, and largely contradictory, set of convictions, if only you had happened to be born in a different place. Epidemiology, not evidence.” — Richard Dawkins