Freedom of religion

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Most of the early colonies were generally not tolerant of dissident forms of worship, with Maryland being one of the exceptions. Thus, this supports the argument against the execution of apostates in Islam. A major issue remains whether and to what extent there is a semblance of due process in the board room before the death penalty is imposed upon a member who is invited, but refuses, to resign. How one mother changed an organ transplant policy to save her daughter's life Five years ago, Sarah Murnaghan's case gained national attention. Since you buy the ingredients for those recipes, then you know the source of the ingredients. Archived from the original on January 22, Gold's letter criticized the other directors for serving as a rubber stamp for management, saying that they enacted policies that muzzled dissenters and shielded Mr.

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Paulson's underlying assumption is that whatever Goldman wants is proper. Now the country's most important court for corporate law has raised questions about some deals. I n recent back-to-back opinions, the Delaware Court of Chancery criticized two publicly listed companies that have agreed to sell themselves to private investors. The rulings expressed concern that Topps Co. The author of both opinions, year-old Vice Chancellor Leo E.

Strine faulted the company's board for letting Chief Executive Robert E. Rossiter negotiate the deal with Mr. Icahn on his own. The Delaware court's increased scrutiny of possible conflicts comes amid rising complaints, and more lawsuits, criticizing buyout deals for allegedly enriching corporate executives at the expense of the shareholders.

In the current buyout craze, many buyout firms retain the management by offering rich pay packages and a stake in the newly private entity. These deals are being challenged in the courts by shareholders who allege that they are getting a meager payout for the company. They say boards are accepting deals based on factors other than the best-available price. In addition, shareholders are accusing boards of running into the friendly arms of private-equity buyers to escape activist hedge funds, who are trying to oust them through proxy battles.

In the case of Topps, the New York producer of trading cards, collectibles and candy, shareholders have accused the board of breaching its duties to get the highest price for the company Strine warned in his Topps opinion. Not only do CEOs get theirs, but , when they do wrong, Shareholders foot the bill. Once again, shareholders are shouldering the costs of unethical behavior they had nothing to do with.

Hill and Richard W. Painter, professors at the University of Minnesota Law School. In 'Better Bankers, Better Banks,' they argue for making financial executives personally liable for a portion of any fines and fraud-based judgments a bank enters into, including legal settlements. Hill said in an interview. If that's the case, bad CEOs are able to hang on to their jobs long after they should be driven out. In a new study titled Pay for Failure: Few of the plans, for example, required that the company's performance be measured against its industry peers.

It's a matter of mutual back-scratching, as another recent study confirmed. The authors are John K. They found that companies paying CEOs excessive amounts also pay directors excessive amounts. Companies that pay too much also tend to perform worse than their peers. Kozlowski was exceptionally extravagant with company money, Mr.

Campriello showed jurors an expense report Mr. John Fort submitted for his attendance at a single three-day board meeting. Campriello asked 'This is the way we traveled,' Mr. Permitting extravagant expenses is the morale equivalent of bribery. Raines received salary, bonus and other compensation last year However, Fannie Mae is not a person. The Broadcom Corporation … shareholders are being asked to vote on a company proposal to increase by 12 million the number of shares authorized for grants under its stock incentive plan.

In addition, a 'yes' vote will expand the types of stock awards that the company can offer executives and employees, as well as grant the compensation committee the right to reprice underwater options at any time. This objectionable repricing practice removes the risk for executives and employees that outside shareholders incur when their stock falls.

Had the proposed plan been in place last year, it would have cost shareholders an amount equal to about 75 percent of the company's revenue, the firm said. Berman had until 29 February been affiliated with a law firm that served as outside counsel to the Company and had since 1 March been engaged by the Company to render legal, regulatory and other professional services. Berman was a director of Tyco until December 5, From March 1, through July 31, , Mr.

Berman was engaged to render legal and other services. During this period, Tyco compensated Mr. Berman with health benefits, secretarial assistance, a cell phone and electronic security services for his homes. Weingarten said the two clashed over several issues, including the amount of Tyco business sent to Kramer Levin for which Berman received referral fees.

Dennis Kozlowski , Tyco's former chief executive, and were not approved by the board or disclosed in filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. He also has drawn fire from critics for having business ties to Disney in the past while sitting on the board.

Those payments ended two years ago amid an outcry from corporate governance experts. Independence of new chairman, who had sided with Eisner, is called into question. Mitchell, 70, … who has little business experience, said … yesterday that he had no desire to play the corporate strategist, as many chairmen do. Instead, he sees his main job as negotiating among factions of unhappy investors, other board members and Michael D.

Eisner, the chief executive who lost the chairman's title in the wake of a resounding no-confidence vote at the company's shareholder meeting on Wednesday. Mitchell's appointment is not sitting well with many of the investors … nor with corporate governance experts.

They complained that not only does Mr. Mitchell have negligible corporate experience, but they say he is too closely allied to Mr. Eisner and his appointment does little to address investor discontent with Mr. Eisner's management of the company. Mitchell takes umbrage at the notion he is beholden to Mr. He said he had only had three social dinners with Mr. Eisner actually approached Mr.

Mitchell in to gauge his interest in joining Disney as president. Mitchell said because the decision was made only on Wednesday, the duties of the job had not been completely defined. But he said the setup and his lack of business experience should not impede his ability to oversee Mr. The most beholden Directors may live in states of denial. And that has prompted some governance experts and investment fund officials to question his sincerity toward reform and sensitivity to appearances.

Their concern is that directors may have competing loyalties between the shareholders they are supposed to serve and the executives who put them on the payroll. Sidhu has … become a national force in community banking by repeatedly triumphing over rebellious directors and shareholders. Sidhu has excluded directors from important deal deliberations or waits until the last minute to brief them. Some investors say his public statements about acquisition plans are misleading.

Sidhu has a board of supportive directors who have scant banking experience, are compensated unusually well and, in some cases, enjoy access to Sovereign loans and business opportunities. While that's more than directors at similar banks get, Sovereign justifies the pay by noting that its directors meet 14 times a year, five more times than its peer average.

Sovereign has had business dealings with and made increasing loans to its directors in recent years. Sovereign added that the Troilo leases all have been at market rates. Troilo didn't return calls. Troilo so he could buy a Lawrenceville, N. To help secure the loan, Mr. Troilo used another Sovereign-mortgaged property, in Pennsylvania , that he also rented to the bank.

The Monday filing said Mr. Troilo's bid was better because it included 'no financing, inspection or due diligence' conditions. Was Sovereign concerned that its building could not withstand "inspection or due diligence"? Upon what objective criteria was that decision made and by whom? But, after all, it is just another instance of Shareholder assets being considered as chump change!

The bank offers no relevant disclosure about the loans, including terms, interest rates or performance. Relational Investors discovered the full extent of them only by cross-referencing Sovereign's Securities and Exchange Commission filings with records at the Office of Thrift Supervision. Sovereign says the SEC filings excluded credit extensions that haven't been drawn down. Since , however, Sovereign's filings have included no specific figures, just vague reassurances.

Wall Street is skeptical that a three-year turnaround plan will work, and Fitch has cut its bond rating to triple C, which is low even for junk bonds.

So far this year it is down another 27 percent. But there is little pain at the top. But there is no mention of internal equity -- of the justice of paying a lot to bosses when workers and investors are suffering. Perhaps board members think they deserve an increase because their past stock grants keep losing value.

They face tricky choices in deciding how much to challenge year-old Mr. Mozilo, who co-founded the company 38 years ago.

Countrywide's nonemployee directors collect fees, shares that they must hold for at least a year, and perks that include health insurance and spousal travel, according to the latest proxy statement. The pay range is above median total compensation for directors of the largest U.

Countrywide said directors review their compensation annually with the help of an independent pay consultant Countrywide rewards board members so well that 'at some point, you cross the line between paying for services provided and a very lucrative thing where board members aren't going to challenge management,' says Mark Reilly, a partner at 3C, Compensation Consulting Consortium.

Corporate Library has long argued that Countrywide's board has done a poor job of designing Mr. Mozilo's pay package, guaranteeing him too much compensation regardless of performance. The consultants urged directors to slim his hefty contract, partly by revamping his annual bonus formula Directors kept the formula and decided to replace the consultancy Snyder , 75, is Countrywide's lead director. Institutional shareholders who have tried to engage the Countrywide board on issues like Mr.

Mozilo's pay say that Mr. Snyder, who has been a board member since , prevents such dialogues from occurring. One complaint was that he does not share letters from stockholders with other members of the board. Charles Prince , for instance, who stepped down under fire as Citigroup Inc. The rules are in place to allow boards to retain an appropriate mix of retired and active executives and push out members who no longer have the time for outside directorships because of more demanding new jobs.

Still, many governance watchers and veteran directors say boards rarely accept a resignation after a member loses a CEO spot—no matter the reason. Another former chief who kept a directorship is Richard Syron , ousted as head of Freddie Mac in when the U. He recently received a warning that he may face civil action from the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of its investigation into whether Freddie Mac properly disclosed its exposure to subprime loans.

Syron held a board seat, rejected his offer to resign. Syron didn't have to defend his actions to fellow board members. To be sure, boards occasionally drop a member after leaving a CEO post under fire.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD declined to comment. I just could not resist the temptation. The devil made me do it. The other dude done it. It was my poor upbringing. Then, there is reciprocal back scratching. It would be so embarrassing at the country club to encounter a removed former fellow Director. Additional conflicts of interest are caused by the existence of a Director clique. No one wants a wild card. It's not surprising that their objective is to get along.

Statistical analyses can go just so far in detecting links between Directors. For directors, it is simply bad form to nitpick over a couple of million dollars with another member of the club, particularly one who helps set director fees or serves on the compensation committee of other corporations.

Even legendary investor Warren E. Buffett was not immune to the collegiality. He recently wrote to the Shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

A certain social atmosphere presides in boardrooms where it becomes impolitic to challenge the chief executive, he wrote. Buffett is reputed to be the best of the best! Thus, Shareholders have no reason to expect better representation from any other Director. Buffet, the best of the best, found it necessary to ask a subordinate multiple times about a sizable transaction and walked away without getting the "details.

Was he suspicious when he had to ask a second time? What about the third time? Did the subordinate still retain his job? Is there a letter of reprimand in the file? What does the subordinate say he communicated to Buffet? Why was the questioning of Buffet not done under oath? Well, since he was questioned by regulators, if the truth not be told, there is always the obstruction of justice route.

Hopefully, Buffet does better where he serves in the capacity of a corporate Director. After his talk with Mr. Ferguson wrote an e-mail to Joseph Brandon, then General Re executive vice president, describing the conversation with Mr.

Buffet, saying that he asked Mr. Buffet whether the deal was proper. Ferguson reported that Mr. Buffet said the deal was proper, but not by a large margin.

Buffet told regulators that didn't happen. Buffet told regulators that he asked Mr. Brandon several times whether General Re's accounting on the deal was okay, but didn't learn details. Did Ferguson want to know? If not, why not? Was a copy of the email transmitted to Buffet when it was written? Did Buffet read it and not respond? When did Buffet first question Brandon? What triggered the question?

If Brandon was not answering Buffet, perhaps Buffet could have asked his external auditors? On the other hand, if one is suspicious, why alert the external auditors to look carefully at what might be a minefield? Perhaps the issue of a Director's fiduciary duty to Shareholders was lost in an ethical haze? He stated, in part, "I've sat on enough boards and audit committees to understand the kind of culture of seduction that characterizes many boards.

It's a game that many CEOs played and played well by seducing their boards with perks and private attention and contributions to favorite philanthropies, and meetings that were short on substance and long on fluff. The boards became willing accomplices. And it's part of the American personality to go along and become more fraternal rather than more vigilant. Levitt did all that board sitting before From to , as Chairman of the SEC, what did he do or attempt to do to cure the specific problem?

Also, it appears that Mr. Levitt is claiming that it would be un-American to require Directors to be vigilant on behalf of Shareholders. Directors who served at failed companies may rate a red badge of courage and additional opportunities to employ their varied talents.

In some cases, however, companies have stopped passing on this information in proxy materials distributed to shareholders…. But what about the directors of companies like Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia Communications, Global Crossing, Waste Management, Tyco International and others who oversaw the implosion of hundreds of billions in market capitalization?

In many cases, they got better jobs. But many companies don't make it easy for shareholders to find out where their directors have been. Sprint Nextel 's biography for William E. Conway , for instance, mentions nothing about his stint at Enron. Thornton of Goldman Sachs Group Ford's, someone with whom he shares several friends and even more interests.

Thornton was appointed to the Ford board at the recommendation of the company's chief executive and chairman The lawsuit … said the chief executive and chairman, William Clay Ford Jr. The suit said Mr. Ford's acceptance of the shares was a 'usurpation of an opportunity that belonged to the company' After shareholders complained in late , the company formed a committee that concluded that Mr.

Ford had not acted improperly. Ford's purchase in May of , shares of Goldman Sachs, the largest allocation to an individual, drew attention after a lawyer for Ford shareholders wrote to the company's board, demanding an investigation.

The shareholders demanded that Mr. Ford return any profits and pay damages to the company for the lost investment opportunity. Ford bought the shares, Goldman's co-chief operating officer, John Thornton, sat on Ford's board. Ford had no significant say in the awarding of investment banking business. They also said … that Mr. Ford had a long personal banking relationship with the firm. Ford probably claimed a tax deduction for his charitable donation.

And, how does one determine that "no wrongdoing had occurred"? Ford did not violate the non-existent policy. Therefore, "no wrongdoing had occurred. In some cases, 10 percent or more of all donations went to these organizations.

Companies, directors and non-profits routinely stress the importance of philanthropy and say the donations don't affect board members' independence. Critics, however, say big donations can create a clubby atmosphere that may make directors less likely to aggressively challenge management. Although foundations detail their donations in annual tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service, companies are not required to disclose most non-profit affiliations of their directors, making it problematic for investors to know the full extent of such connections.

Farmer , the 87 year old chairman of the company Farmers, who are members of the board, along with other directors The coming-together will be at a town in Georgia where the main attraction is a 'gentleman's club' exclusive enough to garner members by invitation only.

Augusta National Golf Club, which openly and proudly discriminates against women, will produce its Masters Golf Tournament with considerable help from the masters of corporate America. It also makes a mockery of board independence, now required to protect stockholders and the public from cronyism in financial dealings.

The cronyism that perpetuates gender bias against employees is every bit as harmful, and ought to be stopped just as forcefully.

At nearly all other companies, a simple majority will do. Purcell will color their judgment in any way. Indeed, Morgan Stanley bankers, not to mention the dissident executives, have accused the board of coddling him. It is packed with former chief executives, many from the Chicago area, where Mr.

Some have golfed together; others have worked for one another. First, there is the Kraft connection. Miles, the chairman of the nominating committee and … recruited two former executives who worked for him at Kraft in the mid's: Then there is the McKinsey connection. Four directors were partners at McKinsey, the management consulting firm, as was Mr. And finally, there is the fact that a number of directors, notably Mr.

Miles, serve together on boards at other companies. Miles, for example, serves on six boards, including that of the AMR Corporation, where he serves alongside Mr. Brennan also serves on six boards, and Charles F. Brennan during his battle with shareholders. Miles and Kraft on its merger with Philip Morris, and he is now advising the independent directors at Morgan Stanley on a range of matters, including their strategy for dealing with their antagonists.

One point made by the retired executives is that until recently, no director - including Mr. Purcell - had ever operated a line of business for a securities firm. That set Morgan Stanley apart from nearly every other Wall Street firm. Partners have fiduciary duties to one another. So much for the concept that BODs have undivided loyalty to represent the interests of Shareholders!

Who is watching the supposed watchdogs of Management? Do conflicts of interest disappear if they are disclosed to Shareholders who have no effective means to remedy the situation? Purcell, their first call for help when to the superlawyer Martin Lipton.

Lipton quickly donned a number of other legal hats - advising the board, Mr. Purcell and the company itself on tactics, legalities and, most controversially, severance pay to departing executives. Purcell stepped down, a compensation specialist at Wachtell, Adam D.

Chinn, in tandem with the board's compensation committee, draft the controversial severance packages that awarded Mr. Chinn's reputation for cobbling together generous severance awards for departing chief executives is such that the contracts are known as Chinn-ups.

As a result of these payouts, the board has been sued by shareholders and received irate letters from institutional investors who have decried the packages as a violation of the very governance practices Mr. Lipton was hired to improve. Purcell's leadership, many Morgan Stanley executives were never quite clear about Mr.

Several said they frequently asked each other: Was he advising the board? The answer, people close to the board said, is that Mr. Lipton was, first and foremost, an adviser to the board.

When it became clear that Mr. Purcell would depart, he hired his own lawyer to negotiate. While the very best governance practices would argue for the hiring of separate counsel on the compensation packages, time and confidentiality considerations led the board to stick with Wachtell. Lipton for being an apologist for corporate management, that assertion misses the point - that Mr. Lipton's fiduciary responsibility is to best represent and advocate in support of his client's interests.

If Lipton represented only the BOD and, thus, the Shareholders, his fiduciary duty was to get the executive to leave for the lowest amount. It is fair to assume that he, at the least, did not discourage the BOD from appointing Chinn while knowing that he Chinn does Chinn-ups. Lipton and Chinn are members of the same law firm. Lipton probably benefits from each fee Chinn earns for the firm.

The BOD tries to justify its act of hiring Chinn by claiming "time and confidentiality" considerations. Does Lipton's rolodex contain the name of at least one competent non-Wachtell attorney who has a reputation for being parsimonious when dealing with executive payoffs?

Couldn't Lipton have asked Chinn for a referral? Did the BOD not know that attorneys, even non-Wachtell attorneys, have a duty to maintain confidentiality? Purcell decided he should step down….

The tale serves as a caution for boards in an era when their role in corporate governance is drawing more scrutiny. The damage from delay when directors fail to spread their antennae widely is especially great at a Wall Street securities firm like Morgan Stanley, where the most valuable assets can walk out the door and never return. At a mid-March board meeting, Laura D'Andrea Tyson , a former Clinton administration economic official who is dean of the London Business School , said directors should take the criticism of Mr.

Purcell's record more seriously. Tyson, calling her comment inappropriate … The board took steps to interview more employees. Knight, the director who had clashed with Ms. Purcell and didn't see any reason to discuss the matter since the board had already decided on it….

The attempt to cut off debate bothered some other directors, people familiar with the meeting say. Knight and Zumwinkel left, the discussion turned more freewheeling. Knight's conduct is reminiscent of that of a school yard bully who made it to the big time. Institutional Shareholders do much "discussing an effort to out the directions," but, when push came to shove, they faded.

Knight and Zumwinkel, who should be their first targets, need not lose any sleep. Bostock , had a family connection to a hedge fund that does business with the firm.

They generally worry that the indirect connections can impair the directors' abilities to serve as independent advocates for shareholder interests. Is this what is meant by "the ties that bind"? If this is what Morgan Stanley does when it is under a corporate governance microscope, imagine what might occur when the spot light turns elsewhere business as usual. Yet during that time, the company's stock has slid 12 percent while shares of its archrival, Lowe's , have climbed percent.

Why would a company award a chief executive that much money at a time when the company's shareholders are arguably faring far less well? Two of those members have ties to Mr. Nardelli's former employer, General Electric. Nardelli's lawyer in negotiating his own salary. And three either sat on other boards with Home Depot's influential lead director, Kenneth G.

Langone , or were former executives at companies with significant business relationships with Mr. In addition, five of the six members of the compensation committee are active or former chief executives, including one whose compensation dwarfs Mr. Governance experts say people who are or have been in the top job have a harder time saying no to the salary demands of fellow chief executives. Moreover, chief executives indirectly benefit from one another's pay increases because compensation packages are often based on surveys detailing what their peers are earning.

To its critics, the panel exemplifies the close personal and professional ties among board members and executives at many companies — ties that can make it harder for a board to restrain executive pay.

They say this can occur even though all of a board's compensation committee members technically meet the legal definition of independent, as is the case at Home Depot. Langone's circle of friends and associates… [T]he Home Depot board decided … Mr. Nardelli, who had no retail experience, should become CEO. Nardelli might not hit one of the few performance goals the board had set to cause payment of a long-term incentive plan, the board lowered the goalposts….

More than a dozen U. Several factors are spurring such appointments, recruiters and management consultants say. Boards are quicker to fire poorly performing CEOs, often before potential internal successors are ready for the job. Many of these companies have deep-seated problems, making it harder to recruit outsiders. And increasingly, there's a deep pool of outside executives in the boardroom.

They contend that a chief chosen from the board signals cronyism and weak succession planning. A director's comfort with a colleague obscures 'a clear view of the individual's suitability to be a successful CEO,' says Richard Breeden, an activist investor and former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Franks , the former chief of the Public Broadcasting System and the publisher of a Spanish newspaper would seem to have nothing in common — except for one thing. They all sit on the board of Bank of America. But as they and 13 of their colleagues meet Wednesday to discuss how to steer the bank through its troubled merger with Merrill Lynch, they are likely to be united by something else: Their shareholder scrutiny has also turned an unusual spotlight on the oversight role played by the board members, many of whom were picked by Mr.

Lewis from several companies that the bank, based in Charlotte , N. Bank of America's board is an eclectic group, and it will grow larger this week when it adds three members from the board of Merrill. The bank's two most powerful directors, O. Spangler , are close to Mr. Lewis's predecessor, Hugh L. Lewis, only two people on the board — the former chief of FleetBoston and a former senior executive of MBNA — have roots in banking.

While Wall Street is rife with tales of bank and brokerage directors who deferred to executives seeking faster growth through ever-riskier business, Bank of America's shareholder advocates have grown increasingly concerned about the board's ability to understand financial risks and rein in managers. While critics charge that Bank of America's board has been little more than a rubber stamp in the empire-building campaign of Mr. Lewis, others describe it as independent and willing to push back against the chief executive.

Its members are expected to vote Wednesday on the addition of three directors from Merrill Lynch Their approval would raise the number of board members to 20, and would tighten the web that already binds many of the board's current representatives. Yet some board members are connected in other ways that reveal strong cross-pollinations with other company boards. Nothing could get the attention of Directors more than the prospect of being held personally accountable for their lack of diligence in performing their duties to Shareholders.

Board members also acknowledge they are struggling to rein in bloated executive compensation, but are counting on investors to lead the cause to knock it down. Those conclusions aren't a decade old, but are part of a recent survey from the consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Corporate Board Member magazine , which culled responses of more than 1, directors at U.

Directors still don't have as much control over corporate dealings that many believe is needed to curb supersized compensation. While more boards are independent of management, there are still plenty of cases of directors using flawed judgment or kowtowing to demanding executives who are pushing their own agendas.

Part of the problem, it seems, is that boards are still controlled by CEOs, with 50 percent of directors surveyed saying that board leadership flows from the company's top executive who is also board chairman.

Those individuals, therefore, set the agenda as well as the flow of information at board meetings and among members. In the area of compensation, two-thirds of responding directors believe that U. Separately, a third believe that stockholders are the group most likely to get pay pared down.

But it is hard to reduce pay when the directors themselves don't know how much they've even agreed to pay executives. Less than half of those surveyed said their boards use tally sheets to add up total compensation, and about one in five directors said that they didn't know what the CEO would collect if he or she is terminated, retires or should there be a change in control.

Among the bigger shockers in these filings are the tallies showing how much money executives will cart away if they are terminated or agree to a merger.

Buried in these figures is one of the most contentious items in all of payland: Michael Kesner , principal at Deloitte Consulting in Chicago said, 'Boards are now just getting a sense of how big that number is. If directors are surprised by gross-ups, you can imagine how stockholders will react.

And given how ubiquitous gross-ups are -- surveys say 75 percent of chief executives have such arrangements with their companies -- the shocks could be far and wide. Training the spotlight on gross-ups may help stamp them out. As long as they were kept under wraps, directors didn't have to justify them to angry shareholders.

Six days later, its chief executive, E. Underlying the situation at Merrill is the nagging question of what a Wall Street board is expected to know about complex financial markets where asset values can shift drastically and where many directors are not in the business of managing trillion-dollar balance sheets — or perhaps have little experience in doing so.

Directors should know what independent risk controls are in place, who is overseeing that function After every market crisis Case law, lawyers say, has affirmed that directors have to be informed and make sure that obvious red flags are not ignored.

There were certainly some red flags waving in front of directors. One issue should have been the revolving door of talent in the upper echelons of the firm Hinduism is one of the more broad-minded religions when it comes to religious freedom.

Hindus believe in different ways to preach attainment of God and religion as a philosophy and hence respect all religions as equal. One of the famous Hindu sayings about religion is: However, Judaism also exists in many forms as a civilization, possessing characteristics known as peoplehood, rather than strictly as a religion. However, these laws are not adhered to anymore as Jews have usually lived among a multi-religious community.

After the conquest of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judea by the Roman Empire, a Jewish state did not exist until with the establishment of the State of Israel. For over years Jewish people lived under pagan, Christian, Muslim, etc. As such Jewish people in some of these states faced persecution. In the Middle East, Jews were categorised as dhimmi, non- Muslims permitted to live within a Muslim state. Even though given rights within a Muslim state, a dhimmi is still not equal to a Muslim within Muslim society, the same way non-Jewish Israeli citizens are not equal with Jewish citizens in modern-day Israel.

Possibly because of this history of long term persecution, Jews in modernity have been among the most active proponents of religious freedom in the US and abroad and have founded and supported anti-hate institutions, including the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Jews are very active in supporting Muslim and other religious groups in the US against discrimination and hate crimes and most Jewish congregations throughout the US and many individual Jews participate in interfaith community projects and programs. While the Israel Declaration of Independence stresses religious freedom as a fundamental principle, in practice the current [ timeframe?

However, as a nation state, Israel is very open towards other religions and religious practices, including public Muslim call to prayer chants and Christian prayer bells ringing in Jerusalem. Israel has been evaluated in research by the Pew organization as having "high" government restrictions on religion. The government recognizes only Orthodox Judaism in certain matters of personal status, and marriages can only be performed by religious authorities. The government provides the greatest funding to Orthodox Judaism, even though adherents represent a minority of citizens.

Women of the Wall have organized to promote religious freedom at the Wall. Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, said that he had submitted the request on behalf of the students and saw their shock when the request was denied. According to the Catholic Church in the Vatican II document on religious freedom, Dignitatis Humanae , "the human person has a right to religious freedom", which is described as "immunity from coercion in civil society".

The Syllabus was made up of phrases and paraphrases from earlier papal documents, along with index references to them, and presented as a list of "condemned propositions". It does not explain why each particular proposition is wrong, but it cites earlier documents to which the reader can refer for the Pope's reasons for saying each proposition is false.

Among the statements included in the Syllabus are: Some Orthodox Christians, especially those living in democratic countries, support religious freedom for all, as evidenced by the position of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Many Protestant Christian churches, including some Baptists , Churches of Christ , Seventh-day Adventist Church and main line churches have a commitment to religious freedoms. However others, such as African scholar Makau Mutua , have argued that Christian insistence on the propagation of their faith to native cultures as an element of religious freedom has resulted in a corresponding denial of religious freedom to native traditions and led to their destruction.

As he states in the book produced by the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief, "Imperial religions have necessarily violated individual conscience and the communal expressions of Africans and their communities by subverting African religions.

In their book Breaking India , Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Neelakandan discussed the "US Church" funding activities in India, such as the popularly advertised campaigns to "save" poor children by feeding, clothing, and educating them, with the book arguing that the funds collected were being used not so much for the purposes indicated to sponsors, but for indoctrination and conversion activities.

They suggest that this nexus of players includes not only church groups, government bodies, and related organizations, but also private think tanks and academics.

Joel Spring has written about the Christianization of the Roman Empire:. Christianity added new impetus to the expansion of empire. Increasing the arrogance of the imperial project, Christians insisted that the Gospels and the Church were the only valid sources of religious beliefs.

Imperialists could claim that they were both civilizing the world and spreading the true religion. By the 5th century, Christianity was thought of as co-extensive with the Imperium romanum. This meant that to be human, as opposed to being a natural slave, was to be "civilized" and Christian. Conversion to Islam is simple, but Muslims are forbidden to convert from Islam to another religion. Certain Muslim-majority countries are known for their restrictions on religious freedom, highly favoring Muslim citizens over non-Muslim citizens.

Other countries [ who? Even other Muslim-majority countries are secular and thus do not regulate religious belief. Thus, this supports the argument against the execution of apostates in Islam. However, on the other hand, some Muslims support the practice of executing apostates who leave Islam, as in Bukhari: In Iran, the constitution recognizes four religions whose status is formally protected: Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Among the most contentious areas of religious freedom is the right of an individual to change or abandon his or her own religion apostasy , and the right to evangelize individuals seeking to convince others to make such a change. Other debates have centered around restricting certain kinds of missionary activity by religions. Many Islamic states, and others such as China, severely restrict missionary activities of other religions. Greece, among European countries, has generally looked unfavorably on missionary activities of denominations others than the majority church and proselytizing is constitutionally prohibited.

A different kind of critique of the freedom to propagate religion has come from non-Abrahamic traditions such as the African and Indian. African scholar Makau Mutua criticizes religious evangelism on the ground of cultural annihilation by what he calls "proselytizing universalist faiths" Chapter Proselytism and Cultural Integrity, p. Some Indian scholars [93] have similarly argued that the right to propagate religion is not culturally or religiously neutral. In Sri Lanka, there have been debates regarding a bill on religious freedom that seeks to protect indigenous religious traditions from certain kinds of missionary activities.

Debates have also occurred in various states of India regarding similar laws, particularly those that restrict conversions using force, fraud or allurement.

In , Christian Solidarity Worldwide , a Christian human rights non-governmental organisation which specializes in religious freedom, launched an in-depth report on the human rights abuses faced by individuals who leave Islam for another religion.

The report is the product of a year long research project in six different countries. It calls on Muslim nations, the international community, the UN and the international media to resolutely address the serious violations of human rights suffered by apostates.

In Islam, apostasy is called " ridda " "turning back" and is considered to be a profound insult to God. A person born of Muslim parents that rejects Islam is called a " murtad fitri " natural apostate , and a person that converted to Islam and later rejects the religion is called a " murtad milli " apostate from the community. In Islamic law Sharia , the consensus view is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed.

A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi'i , Maliki , and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence fiqh , or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi'a scholars. Ideally, the one performing the execution of an apostate must be an imam.

However, while almost all scholars agree about the punishment, many disagree on the allowable time to retract the apostasy. Rahman, a former Chief Justice of Pakistan, argues that there is no indication of the death penalty for apostasy in the Qur'an. Religious practice may also conflict with secular law, creating debates on religious freedom.

For instance, even though polygamy is permitted in Islam, it is prohibited in secular law in many countries. This raises the question of whether prohibiting the practice infringes on the beliefs of certain Muslims. The US and India, both constitutionally secular nations, have taken two different views of this. In the US, polygamy is prohibited for all. This was a major source of conflict between the early LDS Church and the United States until the Church amended its position on practicing polygamy.

Similar issues have also arisen in the context of the religious use of psychedelic substances by Native American tribes in the United States as well as other Native practices. Traynor neatly summarized the American position on how freedom of religion cannot imply freedom from law: City of Hialeah in upheld the right of Santeria adherents to practice ritual animal sacrifice , with Justice Anthony Kennedy stating in the decision: Hodges legalizing Same-sex marriage in the United States.

When she refused to issue marriage licenses, she became embroiled in the Miller v. Her actions caused attorney and author Roberta Kaplan to state that "Kim Davis is the clearest example of someone who wants to use a religious liberty argument to discriminate. In , the case of Engele v. Vitale went to court over the violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment resulting from a mandatory nondenominational prayer in New York public schools.

The Supreme Court ruled in opposition to the state. Edward Schempp sued the school district in Abington over the Pennsylvania law which required students to hear and sometimes read portions of the bible for their daily education.

The court ruled in favor of Schempp and the Pennsylvania law was overturned. In , the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Epperson v. Susan Epperson, a high school teacher in Arkansas sued over a violation of religious freedom. The state had a law banning the teaching of evolution and the school Epperson worked for had provided curriculum which contained evolutionary theory. Epperson had to choose between violating the law or losing her job. The Supreme Court ruled to overturn the Arkansas law because it was unconstitutional.

The law in Germany provides the term of "religious majority" Religiöse Mündigkeit with a minimum age for minors to follow their own religious beliefs even if their parents don't share those or don't approve.

Children 14 and older have the unrestricted right to enter or exit any religious community. Children 12 and older cannot be compelled to change to a different belief. Children 10 and older have to be heard before their parents change their religious upbringing to a different belief.

In its annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom designated fourteen nations as "countries of particular concern". The commission chairman commented that these are nations whose conduct marks them as the world's worst religious freedom violators and human rights abusers. There are concerns about the restrictions on public religious dress in some European countries including the Hijab , Kippah , and Christian cross.

The Pew Research Center has performed studies on international religious freedom between and , compiling global data from 16 governmental and non-governmental organizations—including the United Nations, the United States State Department , and Human Rights Watch —and representing over Social hostilities were classified by the level of communal violence and religion-related terrorism. While most countries provided for the protection of religious freedom in their constitutions or laws, only a quarter of those countries were found to fully respect these legal rights in practice.

In 75 countries governments limit the efforts of religious groups to proselytise and in countries religious groups must register with the government.

The countries in North and South America reportedly had some of the lowest levels of government and social restrictions on religion, while The Middle East and North Africa were the regions with the highest. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran were the countries that top the list of countries with the overall highest levels of restriction on religion.

Vietnam and China were classified as having high government restrictions on religion but were in the moderate or low range when it came to social hostilities. Nigeria, Bangladesh and India were high in social hostilities but moderate in terms of government actions. Restrictions on religion across the world increased between mid and mid, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Restrictions in each of the five major regions of the world increased—including in the Americas and sub-Saharan Africa, the two regions where overall restrictions previously had been declining.

In , Egypt, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Russia, and Yemen were added to the "very high" category of social hostilities.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the painting, see Freedom to Worship painting. For exemptions to anti-discrimination policy often known as "religious liberty" or "conscience protection", see Religious freedom bill. Religious discrimination Separation of church and state. This section possibly contains inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. Please help improve this article by checking for citation inaccuracies.

September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Freedom of religion in India. King John Sigismund [33]. Freedom of religion in the United States. Freedom of religion in Canada. Apostasy in Islam , Takfir , and Mutaween. The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article , discuss the issue on the talk page , or create a new article , as appropriate. February Learn how and when to remove this template message.

Human rights portal Religion portal. Archived from the original on 1 February Retrieved 5 December Retrieved 3 September Ray Clendenen 15 October Fulani Hegemony in Yola Old Adamawa Patrick Glenn, Legal Traditions of the World. Oxford University Press , , p. The only privilege that was reserved for the Muslims was the seat of the caliphate, and this, because of certain religious functions attached to it, which could not naturally be discharged by a non-Muslim.

The Qur'an and Other Religions , p. Wrestling Islam from the Extremists. According the dhimma status system, non-Muslims must pay a poll tax in return for Muslim protection and the privilege of living in Muslim territory. Per this system, non-Muslims are exempt from military service, but they are excluded from occupying high positions that involve dealing with high state interests, like being the president or prime minister of the country.

In Islamic history, non-Muslims did occupy high positions, especially in matters that related to fiscal policies or tax collection. The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism.

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