This week, Pope Benedict XVI is visiting a country that was officially atheist for a long time: Cuba. A majority of Cuba`s population is Roman Catholic, but the country`s Communist government restricted religious freedom there for decades. It`s something that Pope Benedict mentioned before his visit. Some analysts are wondering if it`ll be part of his message when he speaks directly to the Cuban people.
Cuba was officially atheist until the 1990s, when the constitution was amended and references to atheism were replaced with secularism. Christmas was recognized as a holiday at that time and Communist Party members were permitted to openly practice their faith, if they had one.
Church officials now say the island is about 60% Catholic, though few openly practice.
Still, religious access to state television and the administering of religious schools remain largely restricted, which could be a point of emphasis during the pontiff’s trip, observers say.
Your question: Do you think a country’s government should be able to dictate what religions are acceptable to practice? Why or Why not?