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American Churches Have Faced Over 400 Attacks Since 2018

American Churches Have Faced Over 400 Attacks Since 2018

A new report paints a troubling picture of the state of religious freedom in the United States.

TheHostility Against Churches Is on the Rise in the United States” report from The Family Research Council documents 420 acts of hostility against churches between January 2018 and September 2022 across 45 states and Washington, D.C.

The attacks varied in attempts and reasons. Three hundred forty two were classified as vandalism, 58 were arson attacks/attempts, 57 were related to abortion, 12 were gun-related incidents, 11 were bomb threats, and 19 were classified other incidences of assault, threat and interruptions of worship services. Over a dozen of attacks fell into more than one category. 

California had the most recorded incidents with 51, followed by Texas with 33, New York with 31 and Florida with 23.

The FRC argues that violent or destructive incidences that interfere with an individual’s lawful free exercise of religion at their house of worship present a significant nationwide challenge that must be condemned.

“The problem of acts of hostility against churches in the United States is widespread and growing. This is not a trend that should be shrugged off. When churches are targeted for acts of destruction, arson, or threatening messages, it has the potential to be intimidating—and sometimes that’s the intention,” said Arielle Del Turco, FRC’s Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty and author of the report.

“Within the past few years especially, outpourings of political anger have sometimes correlated with vandalism and other acts against churches,” she continued. “When faced with such blatant violence and disrespect against churches (and religion more broadly), our response must be to condemn these acts and reaffirm the right of all people to worship and live out their faith freely – including the freedom to live without fear that they will be the next target of such an attack.”

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