You know the Liberty Institute as the group that has steered Plano's infamous Candy Cane Case through the courts. More recently, it's championed the cause of Angela Hildenbrand, the Texas high school student who wanted to pray during her valedictory speech.
As part of its work, in 2004 the nonprofit compiled recent incidents of religious hostility at the request of Senators John Cornyn and Ted Kennedy. That document, titled, simply, "The Survey of Religious Hostilities in America," is now eight years old and, as such, does not include such recent assaults on religious liberty as those two workers at UT-Arlington who were fired for praying for an absent co-worker and, of course, the Obamacare provision that effectively requires religiously affiliated institutions to offer birth control coverage to employees. High time for an update, which the institute, along with the Family Research Council, just released.
In case you had any doubts, the report's conclusion is stark: "Hostility against religious liberty has reached an all-time high" and "is being pushed out of public life, our schools, and even our churches."
Many are to blame for the what is framed as a coordinated attack on religious freedom. First are the deep-pocketed groups and individuals that form a "radicalized minority ... driven by an anti-religious ideology that is turning the First Amendment upside down." But those have always been around. What's different this time around is the man in the White House.
"The Obama administration no longer even speaks of freedom of religion; now it is only 'freedom of worship,'" the report says. "This radical departure is one that threatens to make true religious liberty vulnerable, conditional, and limited."
A lot of the cases detailed in the report are clearly examples of overreach by excessively cautious bureaucrats, including senior citizens who were prevented from praying and singing gospel songs at a senior activity center. But reading the report, one would conclude that Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and others have encountered no religious hostility. That seems reserved solely for Christians.
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