Thursday, September 13, 2012

Religious Hostility

Thanks to On Knees for Jesus for posting this recent video on Romney and the Religious Right I stumbled upon an interesting survey on religious hostility.

Towards the end Tony Perkins mentioned a survey on the rise of religious hostility stating there have been over 600 recent cases of religious hostility. Here's the link to the website where you can download the report but I wouldn't bother. First, you have to give them your name and email to gain access to the report (I gave them an email address I use for junk mail) and I'm sure I'm on a email database somewhere. Second,  a large portion of religious hostility cases are by far cases of disputes over religious displays during Christmas...err the holidays, zoning disputes, religion in school, or cases of hurt feelings. The cases range over the last decade which would put them on average of 60 a year, hardly an onslaught of religious hostility (To clarify the report was just a listing of cases and did not graph the "rise" of religious hostility cases. I like graphs.) . I downloaded it primarily for my own curiosity and I found a few interesting cases. I was a bit surprised that the Family Research Council and the Liberty Institute (both conservative Christian groups) would include non-Christian suits but lo and behold they did. There aren't many in the report and most are zoning or workplace related which to me suggests they were included to fill out the numbers. Here are a few of my favorites.
Jewish Police Officer Filed Employment Discrimination Claim After Run-in With
Mel Gibson
A Jewish police officer claims Mel Gibson verbally abused him because of his religion,
and then the officer’s superiors forced him to delete the anti-Semitic statements from his
report. The officer claims he was later ostracized and denied promotion because of the
Oh Mel, how can we forget your drunken tirade.
Despite City Approval, Court Orders Construction of Tennessee Mosque to Stop
The Murfreesboro Islamic Center was within three months of completion when a
chancellor court ruled that not enough public notice was given before the zoning
commission approved construction. The Plaintiffs have been fighting the mosque’s
construction, fearing that it is a “sharia compliant” organization. The county has the
option of reapproving the building as long as it gives proper notice of the public meeting.
As of now, the mosque has not been reapproved.

They omitted that "the plaintiffs" were local Christians fighting to keep Muslims out of their town. 1000 points for religious liberty when the mosque was finally able to open their doors.
Child Evangelism Fellowship of Maryland, Inc. v. Montgomery County Public Schools,
373 F.3d 589 (4th Cir. 2004)
The Montgomery County Public Schools refused to allow Child Evangelism Fellowship
(CEF) to participate in the district’s take-home flyer forum to distribute flyers about the
Good News Club, citing fears about the separation of church and state. A lawsuit had to
be filed to end the religious discrimination.
I mentioned this one in particular because my son recently started Kindergarten and was sent home with one of these flyers. I considered mentioning something to the school but..meh, we live in the Bible Belt. We have Christian radio, tv, billboards, a church on every corner, it's not worth ruffling a few Christian feathers for a tiny flyer I can simply ignore. And that is the point I'm trying to make. There are some legitimate cases of infringement on religious freedom but I wouldn't label the cases contained in this report as hostility. Someone burning down a house of worship or gunning down worshipers is hostility, not squabbles over zoning and building permits. And if you still feel your religious liberty is threatened you can  talk it over and compare your plight with that of a non-Christian neighbor. And in the event that a non-Christian neighbor can not be readily found you can take this neat online survey. With Halloween and Christmas around the corner I'm sure there will be a surge in religious hostility cases.  I wonder how much moneys I can get from city hall for not properly displaying baby Jesus waving the American flag?

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