by Paul Strand — CBN News — 10/16/2013
WASHINGTON -- Hostility against Christian Americans is growing at an alarming rate, according to a new survey from the Family Research Council and Liberty Institute.
The Liberty Institute's Jeff Mateer noted that while last year's survey was based on 600 cases, "this survey that we're releasing right now is almost 1,200. So we've almost doubled in just one year."
One such case involved college student Audrey Jarvis, who was asked twice to remove her cross, or at least hide it, at a student orientation.
"My supervisor came up to me out of nowhere and asked me to remove my cross necklace because he thought it would be offensive to incoming freshmen," she recalled.
Jarvis received an apology from her college, but couldn't forget how hurtful the man was who found her cross so objectionable.
"I think he was just kind of ignorant to the fact that his words could offend me in attempting to not offend somebody else," she said.
In another case, Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk got in trouble with his lesbian commanding officer when she ordered him to answer how he felt about gay marriage.
"This is about religious freedom because I expressly stated that I had a religious conviction that wouldn't allow me to answer the question the way it was posed to me," Monk said.
Former NFL running back Craig James found himself a victim of growing anti-faith sentiment when just one hour into a new job as a FOX Sports analyst, he was booted off the air.
James and the Liberty Institute insist it was because a top network manager disapproved of a statement James made about gay marriage 15 months before in a political debate.
"They knew who I was, what I stood for," James told CBN News. "And I'm being punished -- I was fired -- for my religious beliefs."
FOX says James just wasn't a good fit, but Liberty Institute is fighting to get James his job back.
"This is not about Craig James," the former NFL running back said. "This is about an American who had a job and someone came back -- a big corporation -- and said, 'Hey, we can't allow you on our network because of your belief and definition of what marriage is.'"
With some 1,200 cases like these documented in the new Religious Hostility Survey, Mateer says he's frightened for his country.
"The threats are increasing at a dramatic rate, and this survey demonstrates that," Mateer said.
Mat Staver's Liberty Council also fights for the rights of people of faith.
"What we're seeing is instead of religious liberty being protected as it is affirmed by the First Amendment, people of religious faith, particularly Christians, are finding themselves the targets of discrimination," Staver said.
Sgt. Monk says now when Christians facing hostility must hold steady, mostly for other believers.
"They need to see us stand firm in our faith," he told CBN News. "And when they see that, I think we'll see a turn of events."
Mateer noted that when believers fight back, they almost always win. So only by meekly accepting defeat will they let the enemies of religion triumph.
"They've stated their objective is to remove God from our public life. Well, if we remain silent, that's going to happen," Mateer warned.