New Edition of Hostility Against Churches Report Shows a Doubling of Attacks

The newest edition of Family Research Council’s (FRC) Hostility Against Churches report suggests hostility against US churches has rapidly accelerated.

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FRC identifies 436 hostility incidents in 2023—more than double the number identified in 2022 and more than 8 times the number identified in 2018, the first year for which FRC collected data.

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Notable findings in the 183-page report include:

• Over the past 6 years (2018-2023), 915 acts of hostility against US churches were identified by FRC. Those acts included vandalism, arson, gun-related incidents, bomb threats, and more.

• In 2023, at least 436 acts of hostility against churches occurred in the US, more than double the number identified in 2022.

• In 2023, acts of hostility against churches took place in 48 states and the District of Columbia, with more occurring in states with larger populations. California had the most incidents, with 33. Texas had 28 incidents. Hawaii and Wyoming had none.

• Criminal acts of vandalism and destruction of church property may be symptomatic of a collapse in societal reverence and respect for houses of worship and religion.

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“There is a common connection between the growing religious persecution abroad and the rapidly increasing hostility toward churches here at home: our government’s policies,” says Tony Perkins, FRC president and former chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. “The indifference abroad to the fundamental freedom of religion is rivaled only by the increasing antagonism toward the moral absolutes taught by Bible-believing churches here in the US, which is fomenting this environment of hostility toward churches.”

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“Although the motivations for many of these acts of hostility remain unknown, the effect is unmistakable: religious intimidation,” says Arielle Del Turco, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at FRC and author of the report. “They send the message that churches are not wanted in the community or respected in general. Our culture is demonstrating a growing disdain for Christianity and core Christian beliefs, and acts of hostility against churches could be a physical manifestation of that. Regardless of the motivations of these crimes, everyone should treat churches and all houses of worship with respect and affirm the importance of religious freedom for all Americans.”

Access the current and previous reports at: frc.org/HostilityAgainstChurches.


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