Attacks on religious freedom

Bill McMorris of the Washington Free Beacon highlights a new report that should trouble defenders of religious liberty.

Attacks on religious liberty have increased 133 percent since 2011, according to a new report.

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.

“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.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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