CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Alice Chao, (866) FRC-NEWS or (866)-372-6397
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Family Research Council's Center for Religious Liberty today published an updated edition of its report "Free to Believe? The Intensifying Intolerance Toward Christians in the West," which seeks to provide a better understanding of religious freedom violations perpetrated by Western governments against Christian individuals, organizations, and churches. Between January 2020 and December 2023, FRC identified 168 such incidents across 16 countries.
These results were obtained by analyzing open-source documents, reports, and media outlets from 34 countries. Examples of government-sanctioned acts of hostility Western Christians faced within the past four years include being arrested or fined for preaching or praying in public spaces, being punished for voicing biblically informed beliefs in the public square, and pastors facing fines or imprisonment for failing to abide by COVID-19 restrictions--which were sometimes more stringent on houses of worship than on secular institutions and businesses.
Although this report is not an exhaustive account of all the instances of government-sanctioned hostility toward Christians in the Western world, it still paints a troubling picture of a rapidly secularizing Western world unable to tolerate both public and private expressions of the Christian faith.
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president and former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), commented on the updated report:
"During my time as chair and commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, I saw a marked rise in violations of religious freedom against Christians. This occurred not only in longstanding persecution hotspots such as China, Pakistan, and India but also across the West. It is shocking to see Western countries--the same ones we think of as free and open societies--take authoritarian measures against Christians simply trying to live out their faith. Hostility toward Bible-believing Christians is clearly and steadily rising in the West. The report details numerous infringements, including those related to restrictions on speech and public prayer. These abuses are alarming for anyone who understands that the historic understanding of religious freedom is the ability to live your life according to your faith in every aspect of your life."
Arielle Del Turco, author of the report and Director of FRC's Center for Religious Liberty, added:
"These stories are alarming and show the diverse ways Western governments--which ought to be the standard bearers for upholding freedom of religion and expression--are undermining the fundamental human right to religious freedom. This report serves as a warning about how basic freedoms can erode even in Western democracies. Religious freedom must be protected at home so that we may also defend religious freedom across the globe and stand up for the persecuted."
To read the report, please visit: frc.org/westernintolerance