The organizations' presidents, Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute and the FRC's Tony Perkins presented the survey yesterday during platform week of the Republican National Convention at the Marriott Waterside Hotel, Tampa, FL.
"America today would be unrecognizable to our Founders. Our First Liberty is facing a relentless onslaught from well-funded and aggressive groups and individuals who are using the courts, Congress, and the vast federal bureaucracy to suppress and limit religious freedom," Shackleford said. "This radicalized minority is driven by an anti-religious ideology that is turning the First Amendment upside down."
Perkins added: "As dark as this survey is, there is much light. The secularists' agenda only advances when those who love liberty are apathetic. Let this be a call to stand for religious liberty in the United States."
The report has its roots in a testimony before the U.S. Senate that took place in 2004 when Shackleford and a number of his clients presented evidence of growing religious hostility in America. In order to prove that these weren't just isolated incidents, the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) asked the Liberty Institute to provide additional information.
This led to the development the first "hostilities document" which contains more than 600 recent examples of religious hostility.
As the report's Executive Summary explains, the collection "offers stunning insight into the attacks against people of faith that are permeating our nation" and is "a testament to the radical shift in our culture’s worldview that started with the rise of secularism following World War II and has accelerated with each passing year of the twenty-first century."
The following are a few examples of the many incidents included in the report:
• A federal judge threatened “incarceration” to a high school valedictorian unless she removed references to Jesus from her graduation speech.
• City officials prohibited senior citizens from praying over their meals, listening to religious messages or singing gospel songs at a senior activities center.
• A public school official physically lifted an elementary school student from his seat and reprimanded him in front of his classmates for praying over his lunch.
• Following U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ policies, a federal government official sought to censor a pastor’s prayer, eliminating references to Jesus, during a Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans at a national cemetery.
• Public school officials prohibited students from handing out gifts because they contained religious messages.
• A public school official prevented a student from handing out flyers inviting her classmates to an event at her church.
• A public university’s law school banned a Christian organization because it required its officers to adhere to a statement of faith that the university disagreed with.
• The U.S. Department of Justice argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government can tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.
• The State of Texas sought to approve and regulate what religious seminaries can teach.
• Through the Affordable Healthcare Act (“ObamaCare”), the federal government is forcing religious organizations to provide insurance for birth control and abortioninducing drugs in direct violation of their religious beliefs.
• The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned the mention of God from veterans’ funerals, overriding the wishes of the deceased’s families. • A federal judge held that prayers before a state House of Representatives could be to Allah but not to Jesus.
The FRC and Liberty Institute are encouraging everyone to read this report.
"As our country enters into one of the most critical elections of our time, we ask that people of all faiths join together and stand with us as we continue the important work of defending our most precious liberty — our freedom of religion."
Click here to access the report.
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