A new report from the Family Research Council (FRC) indicates that acts of hostility toward Christian churches in the United States are on the rise. 

In an analysis issued this month, the FRC cited at least 420 acts of hostility against U.S. churches between January 2018 and September 2022. Acts of hostility include vandalism, arson, gun-related incidents, bomb threats and more.

According to the FRC, the frequency of hostile acts against churches generally increased over the course of the last five years. The incidents occurred across 45 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., and were directed toward Protestant and Catholic churches.

At least 57 of the incidents cited in 2022 were abortion-related. Pro-abortion hostility toward churches has been a trend since the overturn of Roe. v. Wade this summer. In fact, hostile acts against churches skyrocketed in the months following the ruling by the Supreme Court.

Though populous states like California, New York and Texas saw the most incidents during this period, Alabama, despite being one of the most religious states in the country, still made it on the list.

Individuals attempted to start three fires at Bolling Methodist Church in Butler County during the summer of 2018 and even carved a pentagram in one of the church pews. A pentagram is a symbol widely associated with Satanism. 

In August 2019, vandals broke into the Maranatha Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Montgomery, damaging the church’s sound system and overturning the pulpit and pews.

In October 2021, four minors vandalized St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Somerville, damaging the pews, tables, couches and pianos.

The First Baptist Church in Montgomery fell victim to arson in 2021. The arsonist lit multiple fires in the church building, causing damage to the property.

This past summer, a gunman opened fire during a potluck dinner at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Vestavia Hills, resulting in three deaths. Before police arrived at the scene, a church member stopped the gunman from inflicting further damage by striking him with a chair. According to reports, the state is now seeking the death penalty for the suspect.

Per Statistica, Christians were the second most common victim of anti-religious hate crimes in 2020 if all Christian denominations were counted together. The most common anti-religious hate crime victims were Jews. Among Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants and “other” Christians, Catholics experienced the most hate crimes during that time. There were also several hate crimes levied against Muslims and Sikhs. 

Of course, the trend in the United States is hardly comparable to that worldwide, especially in other countries such as Africa and Asia. 

According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, which tracks the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution, more Christians were persecuted in Islamic extremist and Communist countries than anywhere else in 2022.

This year, the worst countries for Christians were Afghanistan, North Korea, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.

Since the World Watch List began around 30 years ago, the persecution of Christians worldwide has reached its highest levels.

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