Attacks against churches doubled in 2023, report warns: 'Growing disdain for Christianity'

There were 436 hostile acts against Christians in the U.S. in 2023, a new report claims

Anti-Christian hatred is accelerating in the United States, according to a Christian nonprofit that has tracked violence against U.S. churches since 2018.

The Washington D.C.-based Family Research Council released its annual Hostility Against Churches report this week, finding there were 436 hostile incidents against churches in 2023. This is more than double the number tracked in 2022 and more than eight times as many as the group found in 2018.

The group said it used publicly available data to track 915 acts of hostility against churches over the past six years. Most of the incidents were acts of vandalism. The report also found gun-related incidents, arson and bomb threats used against churches. 

"From January 2018 to November 2023, there were at least 709 occurrences of vandalism, 135 arson attacks or attempts, 22 gun-related incidents, 32 bomb threats, and 61 other incidents (assault, threats, interruption of worship services, etc.). In 39 cases, multiple types of hostility occurred (e.g., vandalism and arson)," the report states.


Lakewood Church shooting

Two people were injured during a shooting earlier this month at Houston's Lakewood Church. The shooter was shot and killed by off duty security guards working at the church. (Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

Vandalism against churches may be a sign of the culture's increasing irreverence for places of worship and the Christian religion in general, the report said.

"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 hotbutton political issues related to human dignity and sexuality. Attacks on houses of worship may also signal a discomfort with religion in general," the report continued.

FRC president Tony Perkins claimed the hostility towards Christians displayed by the Biden administration was mirrored by the growing persecution against Christians, worldwide. 

"There is a common connection between the growing religious persecution abroad and the rapidly increasing hostility toward churches here at home: our government's policies," Perkins said in a statement. "The indifference abroad to the fundamental freedom of religion is rivaled only by the increasing antagonism toward the moral absolutes taught by Bible-believing churches here in the U.S., which is fomenting this environment of hostility toward churches."


California church shooting

The Geneva Presbyterian Church is seen after a deadly shooting, in Laguna Woods, California, on May 15, 2022. (REUTERS/David Swanson)

Some of President Biden's critics have accused his administration of waging a war on Christians, after several pro-life activists were charged with violating federal law for protesting at an abortion clinic in 2021. The activists could face up to 11 years in prison.

FRC report author Arielle Del Turco believes the documented incidents show there is a "growing disdain for Christianity and core Christian beliefs" in the United States.

"Although the motivations for many of these acts of hostility remain unknown, the effect is unmistakable: religious intimidation. They send the message that churches are not wanted in the community or respected in general. Our culture is demonstrating a growing disdain for Christianity and core Christian beliefs, and acts of hostility against churches could be a physical manifestation of that. Regardless of the motivations of these crimes, everyone should treat churches and all houses of worship with respect and affirm the importance of religious freedom for all Americans."

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.