Hostility to religion grows in U.S.A. 

Ironically, those who deny the rise in religious hostility in America are also among those who launched the very attacks that caused the crisis. In 2016, a noted Harvard professor wrote that people of certain religious beliefs had lost the “culture wars” in America and should be treated with no leniency.

Similarly, last year the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights sent a report titled “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties” to President Obama and Congress, denouncing routine religious exemptions as an infringement on civil rights and declaring that the phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” are nothing but “code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy, or any form of intolerance.” According to the report, people of faith can and should be forced to do what their faith says they cannot — a direct prohibition of the free exercise of religion.

We keep adding to the canons forbidding discrimination and bigotry on the traditional grounds of “race, color, or creed.”  Now a typical Equal Opportunity policy forbids discrimination against “race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, age, veteran status, disability unrelated to job requirements, genetic information, military service, or other protected status.”

We have added to the list, but we haven’t subtracted any categories.  But bigotry against “creed” has staged a comeback.

And yet, we mustn’t exaggerate the problem.  In these studies, “high” ratings still involve relatively small numbers of incidents.  Christianity in America is still the majority religion, and many of the anti-religion acts were taken against minority religions, such as Muslims, Jews, and Sikhs–not that this should be a consolation, particularly since such anti-religious bigotry may well have been on that part of at least nominal Christians.

But the studies do show that Christians are widely hated on university campuses, among political liberals, and with other members of the cultural elite.  If “Islamophobia” exists, so does “Christophobia.”

We must remember, though, that being disliked is not persecution, as such.  This is a new experience for American Christians.  But it is exactly what Our Lord Himself said that we should expect (John 15:19-21).  In fact, He said that it would be a blessing (Matthew 5:11-13).  How is it a blessing?

Illustration by Jean-Léon Gérôme [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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