Our country was primarily founded by Protestants that were fleeing religious persecution and intolerance towards their faith. The Pilgrims, Quakers, Mennonites, Moravians, and Baptists all fled Europe for the promise to practice their faith in peace in America. Today we do not live in the same America.
I feel like I have been shouting in the wind on this website about the rise of intolerance towards religion and Christians in this country. It almost seems like the people of this country are like proverbial frogs in a kettle while the heat is being turned up. I have done stories about people like Michael Salman who was imprisoned over zoning laws, and Holly Springs Miss banning churches from the downtown area, and most recently the story of the Christians who were arrested for preaching on Bourbon street in New Orleans. Do you know what type of comments I get on those stories? I get a bunch of people who try to justify the government violation of our first amendment rights to free speech and freedom OF religion. They always try to place the blame on the individual. Why? Because they do not understand that a person in America has the right to speak even if it is not popular or what someone else wants to hear.
So when I came across a poll done by the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, I had to share it with you. I have not been some nut-case crying out about something that is not real. I have been right on in my observations about the heart of the American people when it comes to tolerance of religion in our society.
Poll Shows America Becoming Intolerant Of Religion
The United States was among the 16 countries whose scores on both the Government Restrictions Index and the Social Hostilities Index increased by one point or more in the year ending in mid-2010.1 This was the first time scores for the U.S. increased on both indexes during the four-year period covered in this study.
The “GRI” line shows the governments restrictive index and the “SHI” shows the societal hostility index. In other words, one shows the government and one shows the people.
Government intolerance of religion.
Based on the information in the sources consulted for this study, the U.S. score on the Government Restrictions Index rose from 1.6 in the year ending in mid-2009 to 2.7 in the year ending in mid-2010, moving the U.S. from the low category of restrictions to the moderate category for the first time in the four years studied. (GRI scores 2.4 or higher are categorized as moderate by this study, while scores 4.5 or higher are categorized as high.)
During the period from mid-2009 to mid-2010, a number of the sources used in the study reported an increase in the number of incidents at the state and local level in which members of some religious groups faced restrictions on their ability to practice their faith.
Some religious groups in the U.S. also faced difficulties in obtaining zoning permits to build or expand houses of worship, religious schools or other religious institutions. For instance, in May 2010, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that the Boulder County Commissioners had discriminated against the Rocky Mountain Christian Church by denying it permits to expand its school and worship facilities even though the commissioners had issued permits to a nearby secular school for a similar expansion. The appeals court agreed with the lower court that the commissioners’ actions violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), which protects individuals and institutions from religious discrimination in land-use decisions and protects the religious rights of prisoners and other persons confined to institutions. The Justice Department — in a report marking the 10th anniversary of the passage of RLUIPA — noted that 31 of its 51 land-use investigations from 2000-2010 involved Christian groups.
Societal intolerance of religion.
The U.S. score on the Social Hostilities Index also rose, from 2.0 as of mid-2009 to 3.4 as of mid-2010, moving the U.S. from the lower end of the moderate range of hostilities to the upper end of the moderate range. (Social Hostilities Index scores 3.6 or higher are categorized as high by this study.)
The increase in social hostilities in the U.S. also reflects a rise in the number of reported religion-related workplace discrimination complaints. The number of such complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rose from 3,386 in the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30, 2009, to 3,790 in the year ending on Sept. 30, 2010. The number of cases that the EEOC determined had “reasonable cause” rose from 136 to 314 during this period.
Real life examples of intolerance towards religion happening now!
I am going to give you a list of links about the stories that I alone have covered over the last few months showing this intolerance towards religion and especially Christianity at the end of this post but before I do that, I want to give you 2 ongoing instances of where this is happening.
The first one is the story of a church that has been fighting for 14 years to relocate their church building. It is the case of Fortress Bible Church vs. Greenburgh NY. 14 years ago the church approached the city of Greenburgh and told them of their plans to relocate the church to their city. They made a good faith effort to make sure that there would be no problems with the move prior to purchasing the property. The city gave them their okay. After purchasing the property, the city changed their stand and has refused to give building permits based on a environmental impact study where traffic flow was cited.
Over the course of the 14 years, the church has been embroiled in a battle of attrition legally. At one point the city suggested that the church “donate a fire truck” to the city to “offset tax revenue losses”. Can anyone spell B-R-I-B-E? What is this, Mexico?
Finally 14 years later, a U.S. court of appeals has ruled that the city of Greenburgh violated the church’s constitutional rights and the RLUIPA act.
The second case is one where I just started covering just a little bit ago. It is the case where the city of New Orleans has passed a law that bans street preaching after 10:00 pm at night. Even the most intolerant atheist has to agree that this is a clear violation of our first amendment right to free speech.
Late Friday September 21st a judge has granted a temporary restraining order against the city of New Orleans and the New Orleans Police Department against this law. Christian groups were arrested during the “Southern Decadence Festival” and charged with aggressive solicitation by the New Orleans Police Department. (sounds like Gestapo to me.)
How ironic is it that those alleged “law breakers” would then take the city and the police department to a court of law? The ordinance bans…
”All speech on Bourbon Street between the hours of sunset and sunrise of a social, political or religious nature.
It bans “All Speech”? My God! How dumb can these people get? What part of the first amendment do they not understand?
The city of New Orleans made this statement in trying to “justify” their blatant disregard for the first amendment.
“The intent behind the ordinance is not to suppress free of speech. It is a public safety measure to allow the NOPD the ability to ensure the safety of all persons on Bourbon Street while it is a pedestrian mall at night. It is also meant to help alleviate disruptions to visitors, residents and businesses. In doing so, the ordinance imposes specific time, place, and manner restrictions on solicitation and associated conduct in certain limited circumstances.”
Have they never heard that “sticks and stones will break your bones but words will never hurt you?”
One gay activist, Mary Griggs responded to the free speech issue. She said ”I certainly have issues with their argument. I don’t think that freedom of speech should trump my right to life, libery and the pursuit of happiness,”
Uh Mary, what amendment from the Constitution of the United States, the governments contract with the people, are you quoting from? That comes from the Declaration of Independence not the Constitution. Did you not learn that from the public education system?
Here are some more instances of intolerance towards religion in America
What do we do to fight this intolerance towards Christianity?
Honestly it comes down to one thing. We have to stand against this! If we do not stand now. If we do not stand against. If we do not stand up then America, it’s government, and it’s people, will continue down the slippery slope of intolerance towards religion. You may say that it doesn’t effect you. Maybe not today it doesn’t, but tomorrow it will.
Do you realize that America is being placed in the same category of religious persecution and intolerance as places like Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia? Get a grip folks. This has got to stop or all of our freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution of the United States, the contract between Government and the People, will be null and void. It is time to wake up!
Shouting from the rooftop,