The Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute—which, as you can see from their names, are wonderful organizations that anyone would agree with—have released their Survey of Religious Hostility in America. The good news is that Christianity has not been stamped out entirely; a small pocket of Americans continue to profess the faith, clinging to existence at a mere 80% of the US population. They are brave, and they are threatened. As Fox News helpfully explains:
The [report] highlighted more than 600 examples illustrating what it characterized as religious animosity shown by judges, government bureaucrats, schools and secular groups. From ObamaCare mandates that force religious entities to pay for contraception, to children being punished for uttering prayers in school, the report’s findings shocked even those who commissioned it.
Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link and, to a lesser extent, yesterday’s hangover. Prophetic words of Tony Perkins after the jump.
It turns out that the examples of religious animosity cited in the report mostly involve Christians not getting what they want. There are court-ordered removals of crosses from various public lands and veterans’ memorials. There is the nurse at Mt. Sinai hospital who is “forced to participate in a late-term abortion against her religious convictions.” And there is eight year-old Samantha Schulz, barred from singing “Kum Bah Ya” at a Boys & Girls Club because it contains the words “oh Lord.” As Family Research Council president and definite non-homosexual Tony Perkins puts it:
It’s a conflict of world views. These groups want people to check their faith at the door of the public square.
First of all, it was a waste of money to put that door on the public square. The only people getting any use out of it are mimes. Second, eight year-old Samantha Schultz is now 20, since that “Kum Bah Ya” thing happened in August of 2000. The next example in the report is from 1995. The report after that is undated, but it involves a Roman Catholic pharmacist whose license was restricted after he refused to dispense prescribed birth control pills.
So the “findings” that “shocked” the authors of this report are A) entirely anecdotal and B) spread out over the last two decades. It is not so much a survey of religious hostility as a list of complaints. They do not describe persecution of Christianity so much as times when it did not enjoy favored status. Such events are hostile to religion in the same way “happy holidays” attacks Christianity by not specifically mentioning Christmas.
In other words, they move the bar. If you assume that Christianity is the default state of US government and culture, not having a Christmas pageant at your kid’s school is an attack. At 80%, Americans agree that we should worship Jesus Christ at a level that exceeds the support for any president or TV show in the country’s history. From this position, Liberty, the FRC and Fox News argue that the absence of Christianity is hostility.
There is a name for such arguments from a majority group. This survey of hostility toward the most popular religion in America, lovingly reported by the most popular news outlet in the country, revolves around one theme: if you’re not for us, you’re against us. It excuses bullying by encouraging the bullies to regard themselves as victims. Fundamentally, it is a threat. It gathers canceled public prayers and unerected crosses and promises to treat such failures of privilege as hostile acts.
Beware the winning team when it complains that the game is unfair. Nobody gives a rat’s ass what the Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute say, except for the largest media outlet in America. Nobody thinks the absence of a cross outside the county courthouse is a form of bigotry, except for the people who want to put it there. Four out of five Americans worship the god that cross represents. The other one is hostile, and he will be treated as such.