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‘Cause For Concern’: FRC Report Highlights 300% Increase In Hostility Towards Churches in The First Quarter Of 2023

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report from the Family Research Council (FRC), released earlier this month, is highlighting the sharp rise in acts of hostility against the church in the United States.

The report documented a nearly 300% increase in acts of hostility in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same time frame in 2022. If the trend continues, the report underscored that “2023 will have the highest number of incidents of the six years FRC has tracked.”

The acts of hostility contained in the report include “vandalism, arson, gun-related incidents, bomb threats, and more.”

“January of 2023 was a particularly intense month for acts of hostility against churches,” Arielle Del Turco, FRC’s Assistant Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, noted. “Although the number of actions dropped in February and March. The first quarter of 2023 overall saw an unusually high number of acts of hostility, with 69 such incidents being documented. Our research indicates that number is more than the entirety of 2018, in which we identified only 50 incidents, or 2020, in which we identified 54.”

“This steep increase is a cause for concern,” Del Turco stressed.

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In its previous report from December 2022, FRC expounded on the serious nature of rising aggression towards Christianity in the US.

“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 hot-button political issues related to human dignity and sexuality,” FRC cautioned.

While many shrug at these acts of vandalism and threats, the nonprofit research and educational organization explained that these acts of hostility work to intimidate the church, especially as they become more widespread.

“Make no mistake, acts of hostility against churches are a matter of religious freedom,” FRC described. “Religious freedom is not maintained by good laws and policies alone; it also relies on cultural support. When church attendees feel targeted by members of their communities or church buildings bear the brunt of outrage over political events, a more grievous assault is occurring on the ability to choose and live out one’s faith safely, both at church and in the public square.”

This targeting of Christians was brought to the forefront late last month when 28-year-old Audrey Hale entered Covenant School in Nashville, opening fire on children and teachers, resulting in the deaths of six people. Unfortunately, instead of the response which typically arises from such an event, many on the left proceeded to mock the Christian school’s prayer and refer to the shooter’s death as a “tragedy” due to Hale identifying as “transgender.” As one activist proclaimed, “Hate has consequences.”

FRC’s report indicated that the Nashville shooting is not an isolated incident but rather a growing trend that deserves immediate attention.

Author and Pastor, Mark Hitchcock, recently delved into this topic, discussing the “growing hatred for Christians in America.”

“What we’re seeing today is an unleashing of satanic warfare against Christians because we stand in the way of Satan’s agenda, unlike any others,” Hitchcock argued. “The battle lines are being drawn, and we’re seeing a real clash of kingdoms, the clash of Satan’s kingdom versus God’s kingdom, a clash between darkness and light, a clash between the culture of death and life, a culture of disorder versus peace, a culture of dysphoria versus divine order.”

“We see a ramping up of this hatred against the people of God, against believers. In America, really, up to now, what we’ve seen in the last few years, it’s mainly been what I call a kind of low-grade or soft persecution. It’s more of a mocking, maligning, and marginalizing of Christians,” he explained. “But we’re seeing that now being ramped up. The rhetoric is rising, and more and more Christians are in the crosshairs— [we are] moving to a more physical persecution against believers.”

Hitchcock pointed to prophetic passages from Scripture which provide insight into why we are seeing this growing hatred of Biblical truth.

“What we see here is an unparalleled coldness, callousness, and depravity,” Hitchcock asserted. “Jesus said one of the signs of the times in Matthew 24 would be that the hearts of many will grow cold. We see an evil coarsening of our culture that’s taking place, and this is just an evil signpost on the road to Armageddon.”

“All of this is going to culminate in the brutal, blasphemous regime of the Antichrist. The Antichrist is going to be the ultimate persecutor of Christians,” he said. “Satan hates believers and hates God, and he’s going to do everything he can to stand against us, stand against righteousness, and try to bring his agenda into place. The more we stand in the way of that, the more he’s going to unleash his attacks against us. But we need to remember that greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4) and that we can stand strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might in these times in which we find ourselves (Ephesians 6:10).”

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