June 29, 2017
No president has an easy job, but Donald Trump's is particularly tough. Unlike some of his predecessors, he didn't inherit a booming economy, strong military, or sense of national unity. Instead, he stepped into the wreckage left behind by eight years of anti-freedom, anti-growth, and anti-family agendas. And you can add anti-faith to that list, thanks to FRC's latest statistics on religious liberty.
No administration in the history of the United States has been more antagonistic to Christians than Barack Obama's, and the 76 percent spike we found in incidents of religious intolerance proves it. In our 66-page "Hostility to Religion" report, we highlight cases across America that show just how urgent the threat to faith is. From teenagers punished for praying to a Federal Reserve order to remove Christmas displays, it's no wonder Christians are on high alert.
When the first edition of our 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. And our accounts are hardly exhaustive! (Watch my Facebook Live with FRC's Travis Weber here.)
In the new report, which we've broken into four categories: Suppression of Religious Expression in the Public Square, Suppression of Religious Expression in Schools and Universities, Censure of Religious Viewpoints Regarding Sexuality, and Suppression of Religious Expression on Sexuality Using Nondiscrimination Laws, Americans will get a firsthand look at the trends that drove agencies to persecute people like Christian geologist Dr. Andrew Snelling. As 16,000 of you know from signing our petition, Dr. Snelling was denied a routine request to collect soil and rock samples from the Grand Canyon because of his beliefs on creation. Now, four years later, we're happy to report that with help from Alliance Defending Freedom, Trump's National Park Service has agreed to issue that permit.
Hopefully, other victims of intolerance will find relief in an administration that ought to use this report as a guide for what needs to be done to end the policies and practices that fan the flames of religious persecution.
Of course, not all of the news is bad. As I told Fox News's Todd Starnes, there's been growing courage in the face of this growing hostility. Christians, especially younger ones, are standing their ground in this battle for their First Freedom. Todd is one of the reasons you read about those stories -- and starting July 5, you'll have an opportunity to hear more on the new "Todd Starnes Show." From noon to 3 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, your favorite Fox host will be behind the microphone to give a fresh voice to the issues you care about most. For more information, check out the website.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.