The First Liberty Institute’s recently released annual Survey of Hostility to Religion in America report shows there has been a 15-percent increase in the number of cases across the U.S. just since its 2016 report.
The organization’s founder, Kelly Shackelford, writes the time for denial is past:
To deny that religious freedom is in crisis in America is to deny the obvious. And yet there are deniers. Ironically, they include those who launch the very attacks that have caused the crisis itself. The American people, however, deserve the truth …
After years of providing this research—widely cited in the media—we are now seeing confirmation from a growing number of sources and directions.
International Christian Concern (ICC), a respected global watchdog that monitors persecution, listed the United States for the first time in its annual “Hall of Shame” report in January 2017, noting America’s alarming rise in hostility toward Christians. Their report stated, “While there is no comparison between the life of a Christian in the U.S. with persecuted believers overseas, ICC sees these worrying trends as an alarming indication of a decline in religious liberty in the United States.”
The ICC report dovetails with findings published by noted sociologist Dr. George Yancey. He and his team did extensive and careful research into the roots of American hostility to religion. He found what he called widespread “irrational” animus toward traditional Christian beliefs among those with higher educational degrees and privileged positions in society.
In fact, Dr. Yancey found that those with the highest degree of animosity toward traditional religion were those with the most money, education, and power to turn that irrational animus into action in the legal arena.
In 2011, the first year for which First Liberty Institute reported on the subject, there were 600 documented cases of religious persecution in the U.S. The new report, which covers 2016, documents 1,400 cases—an increase of 133 percent in just five years’ time.