Hostility Toward Religion In America

For years religious Americans — specifically Christians — have been complaining that the government has been increasingly hostile toward religious expressions of their faith at the behest of a small group of angry people who find such expressions repugnant.  More often than not the incidents receive little to no coverage in the media leading some to think the complaints are perhaps an exaggeration.

Liberty Institute in conjunction with the Family Research Council have compiled a survey of more than 600 instances of hostility from the government (Local, State, and Federal) toward expressions of religious convictions.  Some examples include:

  • 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.

Fortunately the majority of the time the court overturns the government’s act of hostility.  More importantly is that the individuals had to file suit in order to protect and preserve their rights which ought to have been observed in the first place.  The survey can be downloaded HERE, and a post documenting the overt inclusion of Christianity in our government can be found HERE.


  1. TerranceH says:

    *Enter Extreme Liberal Atheist WIth Arguments Wrapped Neatly In Absurdity*

  2. David Limbaugh chronicled dozens and dozens of such cases in his book “Persecution”.

  3. Well done post!

  4. Islam is the one religion for which our governments have no hostility. That’s because they are afraid of Muslims!

  5. Persecution and crucifixion are the new more over the top words used by mostly fundamentalist and evangelical christians here in the states to describe a re-balancing away from the country being run by them and for them. These words help perpetuate a sense of fear and urgency that fuels the idea of persecution. My question is how do you get away from the minutia of a few individuals who feel or believe that they are being persecuted and justify the fact that there are no less that 350k christian churches in the US? 4k new churches are born every year. No law has ever been drafted that even hints at taking away a persons right to worship any deity they see fit or to gather in a congregation. My point being that maybe the words persecution and crucifixion could be replaced with more honest terms so that when real persecutions sneaks up on us we will see it for what it really is. For instance the Puritans seeking out and either ostracizing Quakers or flat out murdering them. Or the Salem witch hunts. These seem to more accurately represent persecution, no?

    • Nash

      What would you suggest would be more accurate? I agree that at this point in time that persecution is a bit hyperbolic. Certainly more so than Christians I the middle east. However, are you suggesting that Christians ought to just be OK with a gradual erosion of their rights?

  6. Non-establishment does NOT equal persecution, I think what R. Nash said explains that pretty accurately. You claim persecution but have no idea what it really means.
    First of all, I’d like links to these news stories to see the whole story, as I’m sure some of them would be debunked immediately. I have a strong feeling a lot of those points have been made without providing all of the information.
    I’d also like to point out that a lot of these were in public schools – where things like prayer and teaching religious anything was banned because of the explosive results it can have among people and the effect it can have on people of differing religious views. Unorganized prayer is allowed, but only if it doesn’t disrupt other students or interrupt school activities. So obviously, people in violation were reprimanded. This in NO way means that you can’t still have your religion in your place of worship and in your home, which is where it belongs. Out in the world, there are other people with other views, and you need to accept that and realize that we don’t live in a country with any established religion (any form of Christianity, which would be the majority of people in the country). That means that when you leave your house, there’s no real reason why your religion should seep into every other institution or touch any legal system, because the country governs over people with different views who shouldn’t have to be subjected to your religious practices. Am I saying there aren’t any injustices toward Christians committed in this country? No, because I’m sure there are, though they are few and far between and never legally justified under the laws and constitution which this country follows.
    Again, I love what Nash said about the Salem witch trials. If you want a real example of religious persecution, look at things like that.

    • The references are compiled in the link to the survey.

      Also, it seems like you are saying the religious have some duty to keep their religious beliefs and expression to themselves? And you don’t see this as hostility, especially since my freedom to speak and express my religious convictions is expressly guaranteed in the Constitution.

      • Please quote me where I said that you should just keep your beliefs to yourself. I said you have every right to them, in your church and in your home, and you’re allowed to talk about them all you want, NOT impose them upon others.
        I think you are interpreting my words as that, when what I mean is, no belief system should hold any amount of power over a whole of people who do not all adhere to it. We shouldn’t be forced to live as a Christian nation when the constitution itself states that no religion will be made the official one of the country – not that you would know that what with gay marriage being illegal (a law from Christian beliefs that has nothing to do with morality, nor is it stopping anyone from coming to harm). I do however think you should keep your beliefs to yourself when they start harming other people or infringing upon their rights – like (again) the salem with trials, those weren’t expressing freedom of religion, they were imposing it on people and then killing them because of their beliefs.
        And frankly, you complain about hostility toward religion but don’t even consider the other side – hostility toward atheists, agnostics, or people of OTHER religions by Christians, which I could provide a lot of examples of, but frankly I don’t want to because I’m not in danger of being legitimately persecuted for it in this country.

        I tried your links, the pdf one doesn’t work for me.

  7. well, you just said it. I can have my beliefs at home and in a church, apparently no where else. Perhaps you could tell me what you mean by not impose them on others? It sounds like you mean I shouldn’t talk to others about my views, since I can’t make anyone believe what I believe. I don’t have that kind of power over others. I also can’t and don’t want to force others to attend churches either. So I don’t quite understand how I am suppose to take it that I should keep my views at home and church and not discuss them elsewhere without concluding that you think I should keep them to myself for all intents and purposes.

  8. Mr Barron,
    When you speak of the importance of “your rights” as per a cursory reading of the Constitution, does it ever bother you that others rights have been stripped or that they have been singled out for real persecution? 46 states do not allow for atheists to even run for office. Have you ever petitioned your state legislature to change your states law in this regard? What about my time in the military where I was repeatedly ostracized and forced into Christian gatherings/events etc against my will with the threat of punishment looming over my head?
    It is the steady and pointed hypocrisy of the Christian persecution premise that points out the glaring double standard. There was no question in my mind that I was going to war for a country that is 70% Christian. I did it for country and not anyone’s particular god. Nelson Mandela once said that if one of us is oppressed we are all oppressed.
    I have and will continue to stand up to all tyranny irregardless of whether or not it is specific to your special interest or mine. American exceptionalism has a slippery definition and history but I believe that at it’s core is a foundational driving principle similar to Mandela’s premise. We are bigger than a few instances of perceived slights on either side of the fence.

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