religious-hostility-AMERICALiberty Institute, a legal organization in Plano, Texas, has released the report, “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America, 2014 Edition,” featuring more than 1,300 cases of religious hostility, persecution and/or Constitutional violations of rights in the United States.

According to the report,

Hostility to religion in America is still growing. Because religion is so vital to a free and well-ordered society, our goal is to expose and document this growing hostility to help Americans confront and reverse it. The hostility is growing in the “Public Arena” of public places, government, and the workplace. it is growing in the “Schoolhouse” of education, from K-12 through higher academia. it is growing in the sector of “Churches and Ministries” where one might expect it to be safest. And it is growing in the areas of society that encompass the “Military,” which includes our veterans. The growth of hostility is undeniable and it is dangerous.

The report covers incidents such as one where a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy wrote a Biblical quote on his personal whiteboard. He was asked to remove it when other cadets said its mere presence was offensive. The report also cites numerous legal cases where churches, synagogues and other religious organizations were denied the right to build or expand; several of them were consistently harassed by local officials.

Nate Madden at the National Catholic Reporter quotes George Yancey, professor of sociology at the University of North Texas and co-author of So Many Christians, So Few Lions: Is There Christianophobia in the United States, about the report.

My research suggests a certain willingness of Americans to dehumanize conservative Christians. Yet many of these individuals also espouse a desire for religious neutrality. So how do we reconcile these two concepts? I discovered in my research that these individuals, who tend to be white, male, wealthy, highly educated, politically ‘progressive’ and nonreligious, tend to use mechanisms that can be justified for nonreligious reasons but have a disparate impact upon Christians.

Read “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” at Liberty Institute.

Guidance for Christian Engagement in Government

Guidance for Christian Engagement in Government

A Translation of Abraham Kuyper's "Our Program"

  • John Ranta

    I think that strongly religious people assume they have a right to profess their religious beliefs everywhere, including public places like courthouses, schools and military bases. They don’t seem to understand that their religion is not special, or unique, and that their imposition of their personal religious beliefs in public places is offensive to others. We celebrate and protect freedom of religion – which means one’s ability to practice one’s religion in one’s home, and one’s church or temple. It also means that everyone who doesn’t share your particular religious beliefs has a right to be spared from them in public spaces.

    Religious people, especially it seems conservative Christians, seem to think they are being persecuted because they can’t plaster their religion on public walls and spaces. To believe that is persecution requires one to ignore everyone else, who have an equal right to be free from the imposition of others’ religious beliefs.

    • Greg

      You’re right that many religious people make that assumption and don’t recognize it as an assumption. In my experience with Christians, only a small percentage don’t realize that there are reasonable limits to self-expression. There will always be a tension between freedom of and from self-expression, as this is very difficult to work out in practice without trampling on the rights of one group or another.

      With that said, do you recognize that many irreligious people make the same assumption about their beliefs? Do you realize that you have made an assumption that no religion is special or unique? Do you realize that you have made a wrong assumption about the First Amendment, and that it does not restrict religious freedom to private arenas?

      • John Ranta

        I don’t see how it could be other than “no religion is special or unique”, in that every religion assumes that it is special, unique, the “chosen one”. And every religion is equally justified in thinking so, meaning that all religions are equally “un-special” by definition. Or to paraphrase Garrison Keillor, every religion is “above average”.

        I do understand that people are free to express their religious beliefs in public spaces. But they are not free to ask for special treatment, or the endorsement of government, which is why the Constitution does not allow sanctioned prayer in schools. And it is why, if Christians insist on placing a monument to the Decalogue in the town square, satanists are equally justified in placing a monument to Beelzebub, and Muslims to the Koran.

        It is my experience that Christians want special treatment, and that when Christians complain that they are being restricted or discriminated against for their religious beliefs, they do not extend those same expectations or claims of religious rights to Muslims or Sikhs or Satanists or Hindus. Christianity is no more important than, or special, than any other religion, as far as access to public places goes. And Christianity is no more excluded or discriminated against than Islam or Judaism or any other religion.

  • Guzzman

    The report by the Liberty Institute, “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America, 2014 Edition” is a fraud. For example, the case involving the Air Force academy cadet who was asked to remove a Bible verse from his “personal whiteboard” was grossly misrepresented in the report as a violation of the cadet’s religious rights.

    Being a government employee, I followed this case very closely as it unfolded in various government newsletters. The cadet was acting in a Team Leader position, and as a government employee acting in an official capacity, his agency could have been charged with violating the Establishment Clause of the U.S.
    Constitution when he posted a religious quote in a PUBLIC AREA of a government facility. Twenty-nine fellow cadets, some of whom were also Christian, filed complaints against the Team Leader. The applicable military regulations and Constitutional prohibitions were brought to bear, and that is why Air Force officials ultimately agreed that the proselytizing religious quote had to be erased from the whiteboard. This was not a violation of anyone’s religious rights, it was a violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause prohibiting government endorsement of religion.

    • Elise Hilton

      So, what’s next? I can’t pray my Rosary on the public bus? Wear my crucifix necklace in public? Say grace before a meal, quietly, in a restaurant? By the opinions expressed here, any show of devotion/faith in PUBLIC should be verboten.

      • Guzzman

        It appears you misunderstood my point, which was limited to what James Madison called “the separation of Religion & Gov’t.” The Liberty Institute made the same mistake. Those who work in local, state, or Federal government cannot lawfully use their government positions to promote religion while acting in an official capacity. It is settled case law. The Federal courts have repeatedly made the distinction between government speech and private speech about religion:

        Board of Education v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226 (1990): “There is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect.”

        The “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views publicly as well as privately, and the “establishment” clause constrains government from promoting or otherwise taking steps toward establishment of religion.

        So unless you are an agent of the government acting in an official capacity, none of your examples of religious expression would seem to apply.

  • Discuss7

    Americans may have a strange freewill lifestyle, but they stay out of Syria or Saudi Arabia because we Americans do not support children reared to become suicide bombers and do not support ‘anti-women’ religious doctrine so we do not immigrate to these places.
    If muslims want to run away from the wars and live in America, they need to be Americans, speak English and dress like Americans, etc., not remain what they were and quit building religious mosques across our nation which supports negative view of America. Pre-9/11, jihadists were meeting, teaching and promoting terrorist doctrine against America and so what is different now? nothing. Donald Trump might a stoogie candidate but what he’s said actually reflects how Americans feel.