Censorship of media, school materials (including textbooks, displays, audio-visual products), and public communications of any kind such as speeches, billboard messages, posters, signs, hand-out pamphlets, circulars or circulated private letters, may be effected by religious bodies in cooperation with public officials, at national or at local levels. Religious censorship is aimed at defending dogmas by obliterating dissent; at shielding the purity and the souls of both believers and non-believers in the community even by withholding scientific information or world or local news; and at protecting the institutions of religion, whether the hierarchy personally or its extensions, from loss of political, economic or social advantages.
Religious censorship is endemic in all state religions and in areas where strong religious sentiment of a homogeneous nature characterizes the electorate. In the southern USA for example, the 'Bible-belt Mid-West', and Puritan-influenced New England, strong feelings against science has prompted excessive reactions to propagation of ideas such as the equality of women with men, legal abortion for medical reasons, and the evolution of man in nature, to name a few 'dangerous' concepts. Since the same behaviour is exhibited in many Islamic countries, notably Iran, it can be concluded that religious censorship is facilitated wherever there is a holy scripture of venerable age. The writings of Marx and Lenin may also be viewed in this light. Pre-literate religious censorship is exhibited in the system of taboos, whose vestiges may remain sub-consciously in modern society.