Report Shows Major Rise in Hostility Toward Churches

Report Shows Major Rise in Hostility Toward Churches

A report published this month from Family Research Council (FRC) demonstrates a significant rise in hostility toward churches in the U.S.

“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—in this case, churches and Christianity,” the report says.

FRC has been tracking acts of hostility against churches for the past six years—and 2023 revealed the largest increase yet. FRC documented 915 acts of hostility against churches from 2018-2023. In all 12 months of 2022, they found 195 acts of hostility. From January to November 2023, there were 436—twice the number in 2022 and more than eight times the number in 2018. “These findings suggest that hostility against U.S. churches is not only on the rise but also accelerating,” the report says.

Most of the acts were vandalism at 315, and others included arson, bomb threats, gun-related incidents and hateful acts categorized as “other.”

Some of the vandalism included destruction, spray painting satanic symbols and imagery, turning crosses upside down and removing or replacing signage outside the churches. In June 2023, the historically black Fowler United Methodist Church in Annapolis, Maryland, was vandalized, causing $100,000 in damage.

“Pages were torn out of Bibles and hymnals and strewn across the floor and pews,” the report says. “A large wooden cross was torn down, the pew upholstery was torn, a Christian flag was removed from its stand, and the letters of the church’s outdoor sign were removed.”

An example of an incident from the “other” category comes from July in Edinburg, Texas, when a man outside of the church shouted about “killing Christians,” citing Scripture as he yelled.

Each of the 436 incidents is detailed in the report. Since not all incidents are reported to authorities, FRC says that their numbers are likely much lower than the number of incidents that have taken place.

“The rise in acts of hostility against churches is cause for concern and reflects a larger societal trend of intolerance toward religion and Christianity specifically,” the report says. “Family Research Council hopes this report draws attention to the problem of acts of hostility against churches in America and offers insights into the trends surrounding this issue.”

Photo: Formatoriginal / Alamy Stock Photo

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