If it seems like attacks on religion and religious beliefs have gotten worse in recent years, that's because it's true. A new report from the Family Research Council (FRC) called "Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in America," details the rise in threats to religious freedom. The report cites a 76 percent increase in religious freedom violations just since 2014.
Travis Weber, the FRC's director of the Center for Religious Liberty, says it's no coincidence that the rise in attacks on religion happened during the Obama presidency. "Certainly the position that the Obama Administration took in the federal government was hostile to religious exercise in a number of areas," he tells KTRH. "The particular emphasis in the rise is in the area of conflict between religious beliefs and sexuality, in terms of same-sex marriage, the transgender issue and related issues."
That emphasis on sexual issues can be traced directly back to the Supreme Court's landmark 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage. "The Obergefell decision on same-sex marriage has continued to cause complications for religious believers who disagree as a matter of conscience," says Weber.
With the arrival of the Trump Administration there is hope for reversing the trend, however. Weber points to the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the high court's recent ruling in favor of a Missouri church and school that was denied funding from the state. He also credits President Trump for signing an executive order to protect religious liberty. "There are a number of religious schools, religious non-profits and businesses that need protection still, and we need to work that through to completion," says Weber. "But the Trump Administration is taking steps toward that."