Premier Christian Communications has released the results of a survey of 12,000 Christians in the U.K. assessing prejudice and discrimination against them. The findings are disturbing.
- 93% say Christianity is being marginalized in society
- 80% say Christianity is not given equal respect
- 67% say they are unable to be open about their faith at work
- 50% say they have experienced prejudice because of their Christian faith
- 26% say they fear they will be persecuted for being open about their faith
Tim Farron, who resigned as the head of the Liberal Democrats last month, said that "we are kidding ourselves if we think we live in a tolerant liberal society."
What is going on in the U.K. is also going on in the U.S.
The Catholic League website records an extensive example of anti-Catholic incidents, listing offenses stemming from activist organizations, the artistic community, business and the workplace, education, government, and the media. We have noted that the biggest spike in bigotry in recent years has emanated from government; it is also the most problematic venue of anti-Catholicism.
Evangelicals have also noted a surge in bigotry. The Family Research Council recently published "Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States." It noted a 76% increase in attacks on religious liberty over the past three years.
Earlier this year, First Liberty published "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America." It found there was a 133 percent increase in attacks on religious liberty over the past five years.
In February, the Public Religion Research Institute did a survey of white evangelicals and found that they believe they face more discrimination than Muslims.
What's going on? Farron is right: There is no tolerance for practicing Christians in the U.K., and the same is true in the U.S. Yet both nations prize their alleged open-mindedness. Much of the animus has to do with Christian sexual ethics: Christianity values restraint and the dominant culture in both nations values the abandonment of it.
But even this explanation is incomplete. Muslims are more in agreement with practicing Christians on sexual issues than they are with militant secularists. Yet in elite circles, the British and American high priests of tolerance are more accepting of Muslims than Christians. How can this be?
For one, Muslims are feared and Christians are not. Two, due to the corrupting influence of multiculturalism, elites in the West are more likely to embrace outsiders than they are their own, and this is especially true of practicing Christians. Three, those on the left welcome everyone who seeks to undermine the basis of Western Civilization, namely the Judeo-Christian ethos. It's a sick admixture of these three factors.
Christians in both nations need to hang tough and work together to combat anti-Christian bigotry. The alliances they forge must not be sidetracked by bigots, or by arrogant and boneheaded leaders in their own ranks who wish to crush such coalitions.
Bill Donohue is President and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of seven books and many articles.