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BY: Bill McMorris
Attacks on religious liberty have increased 133 percent since 2011, according to a new report.
Government - Agencies - Businesses - Military - Devout
Government agencies, businesses, and the military are cracking down on the devout through zoning laws, restrictive policies against expressing religious sentiments, and punishing employees or citizens who publicly live out their faith, according to First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit group that provides pro-bono legal aid to victims of religious discrimination.
The group recorded more than 1,400 acts of religious discrimination in 2016, up 15 percent from 2015 and 133 percent since 2011. Institute President and CEO Kelly Shackelford called the trend disturbing and a radical departure from First Amendment protections for the freedom of religion.
Hostility - Religion - Tuesday - Press - Call
"We were shocked by how pervasive the hostility to religion was," he said in a Tuesday press call. "Unfortunately, it's not one particular area where it's growing—it's across the board."
The group recounts numerous instances in which believers across all faiths have encountered discrimination in the public arena in its report titled, "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America." The study, based on public records and media accounts of legal disputes brought on by religious belief, is expansive.
Supreme - Court - Battles - Department - Health
It points to the Supreme Court battles in which the Department of Health and Human Services have attempted to coerce religious groups, including the nuns of Little Sisters of the Poor, into violating their religious beliefs to comply with the contraception mandate. The report also describes the case of a Dallas Home Owners Association that attempted to put an end to an Orthodox Jewish congregation's services within the community. When the congregation prevailed in court, the city stepped in to challenge the congregation based on zoning laws.
"It's a situation that is very scary for the members of the community there … they will have to pick up and move," said Justin Butterfield,...
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