The Family Research Council released a 66-page report entitled “Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States” that shows some discouraging, but not unexpected, trends.
Their first report published in 2014 highlighted attacks going back a decade. In the new report, they have found a 76 percent increase in attacks on religious liberty in just the past three years.
When the first edition of this report was released in July 2014, religious freedom violations across the United States were already significantly high. Since that date, the number of incidents has only increased. The first edition—spanning over a decade—contained 90 incidents. Yet 69 new incidents have been added in the short time since the last report. That is a 76 percent increase in just under three years.
It is even worse when you just consider hostility toward religious beliefs about marriage and human sexuality.
Moreover, Sections III and IV, documenting hostility to religious beliefs on natural marriage and human sexuality, contained 42 incidents in the report’s first edition. In the time since then, 48 new incidents have been added to these sections. Thus, the number of these religious freedom violations more than doubled in a 114 percent surge.
The report includes four sections that highlight different categories:
- Attacks on religious expression in the public square,
- Attacks on religious expression in schools and universities,
- Censure of viewpoints regarding sexuality, and
- Suppression of religious viewpoints on sexuality using non-discrimination laws.
In their introduction, they cite some examples of the attacks they have documented over the last three years.
Since the first edition of this report came out about three years ago, the problems have only grown. Militant atheists and progressives continue to target long- existing crosses and historical markers of America’s religious heritage in public places. Teachers tell young school-children they can’t read their Bible in school. Private citizens and the government alike are attacking religious expression by other citizens. Whether it’s a media backlash to merely expressing a faith position on sexuality, or the use of nondiscrimination laws to punish religious business owners for their decisions, threats to free speech and free exercise are heating up both in the courts and the public square.
They also said their numbers are conservative estimates. They wrote, “some incidents contain more than one person or entity affected by the religious freedom violation, yet we only counted it as one incident.” So the numbers could also be much higher. This report also does not include instances of religious discrimination in the military.
Read it in full here.