Americans shouldn’t take their religious freedom for granted because it’s under severe attack, says a new report from the First Liberty Institute.
As The Washington Free Beacon reports, the non-profit organization says threats to religious liberty are up 133 percent since 2011.
Encroachments on faith are coming from a wide variety of sources, including the government, business and even the armed forces says the report entitled, “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America.” Sometimes the assault is obvious and other times it comes in quiet but obtrusive policies that seek to silence people of faith wherever they live or work.
The First Liberty Institute provides free legal advice and assistance to people of any faith who believe they are victims of religious intolerance. The institute’s president and CEO, Kelly Shackelford, told The Washington Free Beacon that First Amendment rights are no longer assured.
“We were shocked by how pervasive the hostility to religion was,” he said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, it’s not one particular area where it’s growing—it’s across the board.”
It’s not just Christians who are being targeted either. First Liberty has found that faith in general is under fire.
In one particularly ominous example, a Dallas Home Owners Association wanted a group of Orthodox Jews to cease having their Sabbath services in the neighborhood. When the homeowners lost in court, they next tried to rezone the area to prevent religious services.
As alarming as the spike in religious intolerance may appear, Shackelford says the numbers are only “the tip of the iceberg” because they only represent examples of people who have actually complained about being victims of religious persecution.
“What’s published is a fraction of what’s happening,” he said. “Most people just take it. What you see in Undeniable is the list is growing [in public accounts]—that means it’s growing even more.”