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FRC, Liberty Institute Release Survey on Religious Hostility in U.S.

Religious Liberty SurveyThe Family Research Council and Liberty Institute recently released The Survey of Religious Hostility in America, a compilation of more than 600 documented incidents of hostility to religion that have occurred in the United States – most of them over the last 10 years.

The organizations' presidents, Tony Perkins and Kelly Shackelford, respectively, presented the survey and its findings on Monday during platform week of the Republican National Convention at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa, FL.

Examples of the increasing hostility to religion described in the 140-page report include:

  • A federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.
  • City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.
  • A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.
  • A public school official prevented a student from handing out flyers inviting her classmates to an event at her church.
  • A public university’s law school banned a Christian organization because it required its officers to adhere to a statement of faith that the university disagreed with.
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned the mention of God from veterans’ funerals, overriding the wishes of the deceased’s families.
  • A federal judge held that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.

"America today would be unrecognizable to our Founders,” remarked Shackelford ahead of the survey's release. “Our First Liberty is facing a relentless onslaught from well-funded and aggressive groups and individuals who are using the courts, Congress, and the vast federal bureaucracy to suppress and limit religious freedom. This radicalized minority is driven by an anti-religious ideology that is turning the First Amendment upside down."

Adding to that, Perkins noted: "As dark as this survey is, there is much light. The secularists' agenda only advances when those who love liberty are apathetic. Let this be a call to stand for religious liberty in the United States."

According to the two organizations, The Survey of Religious Hostility in America grew out of testimony that Shackelford, along with a number of Liberty Institute's clients, provided to the U.S. Senate in 2004 about the growing religious hostility in America. Because the opposition insisted these select testimonies were simply isolated incidents, Senators Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and John Cornyn (R-TX) asked Liberty Institute to provide additional information, which led to the development of the first hostilities document.

While the survey provides evidence of growing numbers and severity of offenses to religious freedom in U.S. churches, schools and in the public arena, it also shows that those persons and organizations that stand up for religious liberty are winning.

The public can view and download The Survey of Religious Hostility in America in its entirety for free at www.religioushostility.org.

Published: August 22, 2012