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Survey reveals increasing hostility in US towards religion


MICHELLE BAUMAN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
8/20/2012

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ABSTRACTSurvey reveals increasing hostility in US towards religion :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Survey reveals increasing hostility in US towards religion By Michelle Bauman Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council and Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of Liberty Institute. Washington D.C., Aug 20, 2012 / 05:31 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- A report examining court cases from recent years has found that hostility towards religion has grown to unprecedented levels in the United States. The newly-updated Survey of Religious Hostility in America serves as “a testament to the radical shift in our culture’s worldview” on religion, said Kelly Shackelford, president of Liberty Institute, and Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council. On Aug. 20, Shackelford and Perkins announced the release of the updated analysis, describing “more than 600 recent examples of religious hostility” in the U.S., most occurring in the last decade. The survey arose out of Shackelford’s 2004 testimony before the U.S. Senate on the rise in religious hostility in the U.S. Some members of the Senate claimed that the examples given were “simply isolated incidents.” In response, the report was developed, documenting the “very real problem” that the issue poses. The updated survey reveals that eight years later, “hostility against religious liberty has reached an all-time high,” said Perkins and Shackelford. The report observed a “new front” of attacks against churches and religious ministries in recent years. Five years ago, it said, it would have been “unthinkable” for the federal government to claim that it could “tell churches and synagogues which pastors and rabbis it can hire and fire.” Yet this was the argument made by the U.S. Department of Justice in the recent Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC case, in which the federal government fought against the “ministerial exception” that allows churches to select their leaders without government interference, it said. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the Justice Department and defended ministerial exception in January. The survey also documented an “explosion” within the last decade of “cases involving local governments discriminating against churches, particularly in the local governments’ use of zoning laws and granting of permits.” In one case, a Texas law required all seminaries to receive “state approval of their curriculum, board members, and professors.” Furthermore, the report documented increasing attacks on religious freedom in the public sphere, pushing “the boundaries of religious hostility” to new limits.    In one instance, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs banned funerals at national cemeteries from including religious content, even if the grieving family wanted the ceremony to include references to God. In addition, multiple challenges have been brought against veterans’ memorials containing crosses and displays of the Ten Commandments at state courthouses and capitols.   The survey observed the shift in attitude towards these monuments, pointing out that even a decade ago, veterans’ memorials in the shape of a cross “were widely accepted as fitting symbols of the sacrifices made by so many for this country.” It also noted several cases challenging prayer to open legislative assemblies, despite the fact that Congress has opened with prayer since the nation’s beginning. One case showed how senior citizens at an elderly center in Balch .......