Family Research Council Cites

Just a short time after a gunman fired on a security guard at The Family Research Council building in Washington, DC — apparently because he ‘didn’t like their politics’ — the FRC and the Liberty Institute published The Survey of Religious Hostility in America (PDF, 2MB).  The Survey is 135 pages covering “more than 600 recent examples of religious hostility” detailing “religious bigotry throughout America.”  The paper includes not just independent government action, but moves by citizens to use the government to take action “hostile” toward religion.

America today would be unrecognizable to our Founders. Our first freedom 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. This radicalized minority is driven by an anti-religious ideology that is turning the First Amendment upside down.

Naturally, the report covers perceptions of religious hostility in the US military, with which they included this citation of 

Air Force Pressured to Remove God from Logo
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) successfully removed God from the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) logo on its official patch. It pressured the RCO into replacing “Doing God’s Work” with “Doing Miracles.” The MAAF claimed that the logo, which was written in Latin, constituted government establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment.

Importantly, there are examples of hostility toward many faiths in the report, not just Christians — though its seems many assume it is merely a Christian topic (the FoxNews headline was “Christians victims of rising ‘hostility’…)  The confrontational American Atheists claim the FRC is calling upholding the Constitution “hostile.”  It is true that the establishment and free exercise clauses of the US Constitution can be in tension, but much of the recent “tension” has been fabricated or pre-empted by such “hostility” toward the free exercise clause.

The paper includes a variety of other incidents documented on this site, including Mullin v Gould, a canceled SOS course, Rock the Fort, Franklin Graham and the Pentagon, Rabbi Menachem, Salazar v Buono, the Mount Soledad cross, the Roosevelt prayer, the Camp Pendleton cross, USAFA cadets’ support for Operation Christmas Child, Tony Perkins at Andrew AFB, and even Weinstein v Ammerman.  (In fact, Weinstein v Ammerman is currently highlighted on the website in the list of “The Most Severe Attacks on our Religious Liberties.”)

It seems Michael Weinstein, Chris Rodda, and Jason Torpy can feel valued in their substantial inclusion in a summary of incidents demonstrating “hostility” toward religious liberty.


  • Christians are victims of “hostility” from government? Seriously? Get a grip.

    Christians dominate American society and politics. Christians of all sorts comprise about 78% of the population; Catholics comprise about 24%. Christians comprise over 90% of members of Congress; Catholics 29%; Jews 7%; only one member is atheist.–The-Religious-Composition-of-the-112th-Congress.aspx Six justices of the Supreme Court are Catholic; three are Jewish.

    The official national motto is “In God we trust.” The government prescribes a pledge of allegiance declaring that our nation is “under God.” Presidents and other politicians close their speeches with the obligatory “God bless America.” Federal and state laws naturally reflect the views of the religious electorate for the most part.

    Even though Christianity remains by far the dominant religious influence in our society, Christians no doubt have occasionally faced instances of unfairness and the like. But persecution? When I hear a member of that dominant religion express feelings of persecution and such, the image of a privileged child comes to mind–one who, faced with the prospect of treatment comparable to that experienced by others, howls in pained anguish at the injustice of it all and pines for the good old days.

    As an atheist, I know how it feels to hold views not shared and even reviled by many in our society. You may understand then how alarming it is to hear members of the dominant religious group speak of their sense of persecution. History often reveals dominant groups working themselves into a lather about perceived wrongs against them before they lash out to “restore” matters as they see fit.

  • What? The FRC doesn’t like us? LOL

  • Good work Chris! If that bunch of bigots don’t like you, you must be doing something right!

  • @Doug Indeap

    Christians are victims of “hostility” from government? Seriously?…But persecution?

    Perhaps you should try reading the article again. It says hostility is toward religion, not Christianity, and the authors do not claim persecution.

    It is asinine to assert that members of a majority cannot be harmed simply because they are a majority.

    Believe it or not, people have said that same thing to me.

  • I used to believe like you guys, until I started reading the writings of our founding fathers for myself. I wouldn’t have believed it either but for your sake I hope you will seek out what they really said. In fact read about the rivers that froze and thawed allowing Washington’s troops to escape the red coats and the fog that appeared after daylight allowing our troops to all disappear in the night. They knew this was more luck it was Providence.

  • @JD
    Okay, while the report plainly speaks largely of Christians, you are correct that this article (unlike many others) refers to “religion.” That only expands and strengthens my point. Religionists (Christians, plus all the others) comprise the vast majority of citizens. It is just silly to suppose that a republican government would express open hostility to the deeply held beliefs of the vast majority of voters.

    If you read the report, it consists largely of a list of instances in which courts and others have applied and enforced the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. Implementing that principle hardly amounts to “hostility” to religion. Indeed, our religious freedom largely depends on the just idea that each of us should be free to exercise his or her religious views without expecting that the government will endorse or promote those views and without fearing that the government will endorse or promote the religious views of others. By keeping government and religion separate, the establishment clause serves to protect the freedom of all to exercise their religion. Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations, but the principles are hardly to be doubted. Moreover, they are good, sound principles that should be nurtured and defended, not attacked. Efforts to undercut our secular government by somehow merging or infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

  • @Doug Indeap

    Implementing [separation of church and state] hardly amounts to “hostility” to religion.

    That statement comes across as pretty naïve, but you finally admit

    Reasonable people may differ, of course, on how these principles should be applied in particular situations…

    A “strict” application of the principle of “separation of church and state” can certainly be hostile to religion. The Supreme Court has said as much.

    The focus on the “separation of church and state” is somewhat misplaced. It’s like discussing a commentary on a subject rather than the subject itself. The Constitution says one thing about religious freedom: Congress cannot make a law regarding an establishment of religion or prohibiting free exercise. “Separation of church and state” is but one way the First Amendment has been interpreted (or “dumbed down”). That interpretation is not an American law in any form, nor is it even a universally defined phrase.

    For example, many examples in the report have nothing to do with “church.” Thus, either the “separation of church and state” does not apply, or there is another (again, undefined) meaning to the word “church.”

    In fact, you display this very confusion when you say

    Efforts to undercut our secular government by…infusing it with religion should be resisted by every patriot.

    You are free to have that opinion, and while it demonstrates a bias against religious freedom, it has nothing to do with the Constitution or “separation of church and state,” as neither proscribe what you oppose. You further muddy the conversation by using words like “infusing.” What defines “infusing?”

    The point of this reply is not to critique your comment, but to point out that what you may think is clear or obvious may not actually be so — as demonstrated by your own comment. So while you think it “silly” that someone would claim “hostility” from the government, “reasonable people” can certainly disagree.

  • @JD
    Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say…

    Deleted by Admin.

  • @Doug Indeap
    You posted this comment almost verbatim about a year ago at Forbes, a few months ago at CBS, a month ago at Patheos; in fact, you’ve spammed half the internet with it.

    If you want to engage in this discussion, rather than simply copy and paste your essay on yet another site, feel free.

  • @JD
    I offered points pertinent to what you said in this discussion. If you want to avoid responding and end the discussion because you’re somehow bothered that the same points have been made elsewhere (oh my!), feel free. If you want to respond and continue the discussion, feel free. If you choose the latter, I’ll be interested in what you have to say.