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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Family Research Council today released a new update to our December 2022 report, titled "Hostility Against Churches: Supplemental Report -- First Quarter 2023." The new report "indicates that criminal acts against churches have been steadily on the rise for the past several years, and the first quarter of 2023 has continued the upward trend. The first three months of 2023 saw approximately three times the number of acts of hostility perpetrated against churches in the same timeframe last year."
The report noted several trends including, but not limited to:
- From January through March of 2023, 69 acts of hostility against churches have already occurred. If this rate continues, 2023 will have the highest number of incidents of the six years FRC has tracked.
- FRC identified 53 acts of vandalism against churches in the first quarter of 2023; 10 arson attacks, arson attempts, or fires with unknown causes; three gun-related incidents; three bomb threats; and two other incidences (assault, etc.). Three incidents fell into more than one category.
- Twenty-nine states experienced acts of hostility against churches. North Carolina had the most incidents, with seven. Ohio and Tennessee each had five. Florida, Missouri, and Pennsylvania each had four. No incidents were found in 21 states or the District of Columbia.
- Violent or destructive incidences that interfere with an individual's lawful free exercise of religion at their house of worship present a significant nationwide challenge and must be condemned.
Arielle Del Turco, FRC's Director of the Center for Religious Liberty and author of the report, commented:
"The problem of acts of hostility against churches in the United States is widespread and growing. Increasing anger and frustration directed at church buildings points to a larger spiritual battle and a growing climate of hostility toward Christianity. The motivations for some of these acts of vandalism, arson, gun-related incidents, bomb threats, or other acts appear political while many more seem completely inexplicable. Yet, all of these incidents represent a deeply concerning trend and have the potential to be intimidating. In response, Americans should be united in our affirmation of religious freedom and the ability of all people to worship and live out their faith freely--without fear that their church or religious community will be targeted."
To access the full publication, please visit: frc.org/HostilityAgainstChurches