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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Arielle Del Turco, Family Research Council's (FRC) Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government. During the hearing, titled "Revisiting the Implications of the FACE Act," Del Turco testified on the recent, concerning trend of attacks against churches and houses of worship, attacks which fall under the jurisdiction of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. During her testimony, Del Turco highlighted her report on the recent string of attacks, titled: "Hostility Against Churches Is on the Rise in the United States."
Del Turco testified in part:
"Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Scanlon, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Arielle Del Turco, and I am the Director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council (FRC) in Washington, D.C. Our organization desires all people to have the freedom to exercise their faith. This freedom is significantly undermined whenever houses of worship are the targets of violent or destructive incidents meant to intimidate the faithful or interrupt the normal work of the religious community. Last year, FRC began to monitor acts of hostility against churches in the United States as a religious freedom concern.
"In December 2022, FRC released a report analyzing publicly documented acts of hostility against churches over the past five years. We identified 420 incidents that occurred in 45 states and Washington, D.C. between January 2018 and September 2022. There also appeared to be an increase in frequency over the course of the reporting period.
"The types of acts identified include vandalism, arson, bomb threats, gun-related incidents, and interruption of worship services--all of which are punishable under the FACE Act. Most of the incidents covered in our December 2022 report were vandalisms; the report identified 342 occurrences of vandalism, 58 arson attacks or attempts, 12 gun-related incidents, 11 bomb threats, and 19 other incidences (assault, threats, interruption of worship services, etc.). Twenty incidents (4.76 percent) fell into more than one category.
"In April 2023, FRC published a supplemental update to our report, which found an additional 54 incidents in the final months of 2022 and 69 in the first quarter of 2023.
"Since releasing that supplemental report, we catalogued another 22 acts of hostility in the month of April. If this trend continues, 2023 will be on track to have the highest number of church attacks over the past six years. All told, FRC has observed 565 attacks against churches from January 2018 to April 2023. And that is based on the public documentation we have found. There are almost certainly more incidents.
"This trend of increasing hostility and violent attacks against places of worship is completely unacceptable, and it should concern those of all faiths.
"As long as the FACE Act remains law, it should be used as a tool to go after perpetrators of attacks such as those mentioned above. Anti-religious hostility like the incidents I mentioned has no place in our society or any country that wants to call itself a land of freedom. This issue deserves the full attention of the entire American public and the full weight of law enforcement."
To watch her full testimony, please see: https://www.frc.org/frcinthenews/20230516/arielle-del-turco-on-the-growing-hostility-toward-churches-in-america
To read her full testimony, please see: https://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF23E21.pdf