A new report claims attacks on religious liberty in the United States have increased 133 percent in the last five years.
The First Liberty Institute, a right-leaning advocacy organization dedicated to defending the First Amendment, published its annual report — “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” — Tuesday.
“The total number of documented incidents in this report increased by over 15 percent over the past year and now includes more than 1,400 religious liberty incidents,” the report stated.
In 2011, there were only 600 reported attacks on religious liberty.
“To deny that religious freedom is in crisis in America is to deny the obvious. And yet there are deniers,” the report explained. “Ironically, they include those who launch the very attacks that have caused the crisis itself.”
Among others, the new data highlighted Alexia Palma, a Catholic immigrant from Guatemala who worked at a Houston-area health clinic. As TheBlaze reported, she was fired from her job after refusing to teach a course on birth control.
Palma originally taught a handful of courses, including one called “Becoming a Mom.” When she was first asked to teach the class on birth control, she was able to opt out, showing a video instead, because contraception violated her convictions. But when the clinic came under new management, she was given an ultimatum: set aside her “personal beliefs” or be terminated.
First Liberty’s report follows a June analysis from the conservative Family Research Council, which concluded that, in the last three years, there has been a 76 percent increase in attacks on Americans’ religious freedom.
The study explained:
Hostility to religion in the public square of the United States has grown significantly. The changes may seem incremental until one compares the social situation at the time of our founding with our present state. Religion was embraced then, and is censored now. It was esteemed at that time; these days it is often disparaged.
Both of these surveys come as Christians are not only facing increased discrimination in the private sector, but within the halls of government as well.
In early September, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) attacked Amy Coney Barrett, a nominee for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, because the University of Notre Dame professor’s faith “lives loudly” within her.
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern, when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.”
And in June, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) grilled Russell Vought, Trump’s pick for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, over his Christianity. The senator claimed Vought was “Islamophobic” because he believes Jesus is the only way to salvation — a bedrock of the Christian faith.
When Vought refused to compromise his convictions, Sanders, clearly angry, concluded the nominee “is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.”
Then, in late August, the Freedom From Religion Foundation claimed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is violating the U.S. Constitution by tweeting Bible verses from his official Twitter account.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Mormon, called the recent attacks on Christian beliefs “strange” and “disturbing.”