September 13, 2017
Religious hostility: it's not just for bakers anymore! You don't have to be cake-maker Jack Phillips to know the attacks on U.S. Christians are on the rise. No administration was more antagonistic to faith than Barack Obama's -- and the 133 percent spike in religious intolerance proves it. That's how much our friends at First Liberty Institute say the crisis has exploded over the last five years. In their new report, "Undeniable," they highlight cases where people's First Freedom was infringed in one way or another -- either in the public arena, in the military, in schools or even within church walls.
Like FRC, which has been documenting cases like this in our own "Hostility to Religion" report, First Liberty has noticed a significant jump in incidents -- even in the last year. "To deny that religious freedom is in crisis in America is to deny the obvious. And yet there are deniers. Ironically, they include those who launch the very attacks that have caused the crisis itself," the report explains. "The American people, however, deserve the truth. For that reason, every year a team of legal researchers at First Liberty Institute -- led by a Harvard-trained constitutional attorney -- investigates and documents the rise in the number and severity of domestic attacks on religion."
For Donald Trump, who inherited two terms worth of wreckage from Obama's war on faith, the number one priority has been rebuilding -- brick by brick -- Americans' First Amendment freedoms. As recently as Friday, he sided with churches in a dispute over FEMA aid. He's fought to overturn the Johnson amendment, issued an executive order on religious liberty, and led the effort to right the wrong done to Christians like geologist Andrew Snelling and Don Vander Boon by the Obama holdovers in his government agencies.
But, as First Liberty CEO Kelly Shackelford explains, there's plenty of work left to do. "It's school cases, it's military cases, it's open public places cases, employment cases. Unfortunately, it is not [just] one particular area [of society], it's across the board. What we collect is just what's published. So really it is just the tip of the iceberg because what's published is really a fraction of what is actually happening."
More than anything, this underscores the need for the Justice Department to issue its guidance on the president's executive order. President Obama spent eight years using his policies and his bully pulpit to unleash the anti-religious (and specifically anti-Christian) forces in America. The animosity that's built up over the last decade won't go away on its own -- and it certainly won't stop just because Barack Obama is gone. The only way these attacks on faith cease is for those policies to be reversed. Not just halted, but overturned. That starts with the DOJ following through on its pledge to release its guidance to all federal agencies based on the president's Executive Order on Religious Liberty.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.