Report Highlights Problems for Religious Liberty in the US
Digest Documents a Decade of Hostile Incidents
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WASHINGTON, D.C., AUG. 24, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Earlier this week the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council released a report titled: “The Survey of Religious Hostility in America.” It consists of a digest of more than 600 documented incidents of hostility to religion that have occurred in the United States during the last decade.
"America today would be unrecognizable to our Founders,” declared Kelly Shackelford, the director of the Liberty Institute. “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,” he said.
“Let this be a call to stand for religious liberty in the United States," urged Tony Perkins, the director of the Family Research Council.
“Our Founding Fathers considered religious liberty our ‘first freedom,’ and the bedrock upon which all other freedoms rest,” the report’s introduction noted.
Among the long list of instances where religious liberty has been threatened were the following.
+ 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.
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On the Net:
Full text of report - http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF12H29.pdf