The left loves to talk about hate crimes. It’s a mantra that never seems to leave the public square. Where then is all the animus for those attacking Christians and their houses of worship? These most certainly fall under the category of hate crimes.
A report released this month by the Family Research Council exhaustively catalogs the rise in violence against Christian churches – and there is plenty of destruction and violence worth discussing: smashed crosses, nativity scenes set ablaze, defaced headstones and statues of the Virgin Mary covered in feces are but a few of the many acts committed against American Christian churches. There is surprisingly little coverage of these hate crimes. Worse still, these acts of violence are occurring at an increased rate.
A Not-So-Silent Night
According to the Family Research Council’s Arielle Del Turco, “The first nine months of 2022 saw more than double the number of reported acts of hostility against churches that occurred in the entirety of 2018.” Statistics revealed in the report show the following:
50 incidents in 2018
83 incidents in 2019
54 incidents in 2020 (a dip likely caused by the pandemic)
96 incidents in 2021
137 incidents reported from Jan. through Sept. of 2022
The FRC also spotted a correlation between anti-Christian violence and political tension, noting a spike in hostility against churches during the George Floyd riots and again after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Erroneously reported as ending abortion, this decision allows individual states to set abortion parameters for its residents).
Normalizing Anti-Christian Violence
Those who hate Christians appear to be equal opportunity destroyers. Violence was reported against Roman Catholic parishes as well as evangelical, Unitarian, various protestant sects, Eastern Orthodox, and non-denominational houses of worship. It also didn’t matter if the congregants were black, white, Asian, or multi-ethnic.
Researchers also pointed out that “Americans appear increasingly comfortable lashing out against church buildings, pointing to a larger societal problem of marginalizing core Christian beliefs, including those that touch on hot-button political issues related to human dignity and sexuality.”
The loss of respect for Christians and their property is staggering and includes bomb threats, shootings, arson, ransacking of churches, defacing iconography, and tearing apart a tabernacle. Churches have also reported armed persons showing up during services, the painting of pro-abortion slogans on buildings, racial slurs written on church walls, and statues of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph painted with “satanic imagery.”
Those who want to talk about hate crimes should look no further than their local Christian church. Del Turco summarizes her findings with these particularly poignant words:
Make no mistake, acts of hostility against churches are a matter of religious freedom. Religious freedom is not maintained by good laws and policies alone; it also relies on cultural support. When church attendees feel targeted by members of their communities or church buildings bear the brunt of outrage over political events, a more grievous assault is occurring on the ability to choose and live out one’s faith safely, both at church and in the public square. Violent or destructive incidents that interfere with an individual’s lawful free exercise of religion at their house of worship present a significant nationwide challenge.
And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
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