Two conservative Christian groups are warning of growing hostility to religious expression in the United States.
A report by Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council lists 600 instances in recent years, including lawsuits filed by atheist groups and actions taken by government officials.
Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford says Democrats as well as Republicans will be urged to make protection of Americans' religious rights a part of their party platforms this election year.
Shackelford says growing hostility toward religious expression can lead to violence like the recent shooting at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council that left an unarmed guard wounded.
The threat to religious expression may keep high school football players in Georgia from getting a home-cooked meal. That’s because the meals are provided by local churches, and an atheist organization says the practice is unconstitutional.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation says a meal in a church is a violation of the Establishment Clause.
The organization has asked the principal of Ridgeland High School in Georgia to discontinue the process.
Richie White, youth director for Chattanooga Valley Baptist Church, says several members of the church youth group are on the local football team, and the pre-game meals have been a longstanding tradition.
He says, “We as Christians don't force our religion on anyone...but we are being persecuted because we believe there is a God who created us. I don't think there's an equal playing field here.”
I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.