Conflicts may arise over the amount of influence religion has in social and political affairs, or on direct ideological grounds (if the government is totally opposed to religion). Repression, trial and imprisonment of clerics and lay leaders may precede confiscation of sacred properties, or restrictive legislation. It may also lead to civil war, or international conflict. This conflict is most visible in developing countries where religion exerts powerful influence.
Every religion, with the growth of adherents, becomes a political force. Persecutions of the early Christians, and of the Jews in Europe, were undertaken from this perspective. Religious/political conflicts may take place from local levels (where sects attempt to control local government) right up to the international level of deliberations and resolutions of intergovernmental bodies which may be opposed by leaders of major faiths.