What Religious Persecution Looks Like in the Modern Age

What Religious Persecution Looks Like in the Modern Age

(DailyVantage.com) – Throughout its history, the United States has remained a country whose people enjoy unmatched religious diversity. However, that’s not to say it hasn’t experienced its share of religious conflict.

Settled by colonists escaping European religious persecution, the United States, to a large extent, is a nation born from religious conflict. With that in mind, it’s no surprise the Founding Fathers saw a need to protect the exercise of religion in the First Amendment.

It’s Nothing New

Religious-based conflict is rife throughout America’s history, beginning with the post-Revolutionary war persecution of Baptists and Presbyterians by the Anglicans, who remained loyal to the Church of England.

The rise of 19th-century activist Protestantism and an influx of Catholic immigrants from Europe ignited anti-Catholic violence in the Northeast. Religious persecution rose to the level that martial law was declared in Philadelphia for a week in 1844.

Meanwhile, Mormons were chased out of New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois — eventually settling in Utah. In 1857, federal troops were dispatched to Utah amid fears of the establishment of a religious state.

Mormons pushed back, resulting in the infamous Mountain Meadow Massacre and the death of more than 100 California-bound pioneers at local Mormons’ hands.

The 20th-century saw its share of religious persecution from the rise of anti-Semitism during the Great Depression to rising conflicts and persecution rising out of the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, women’s liberation, and the emergence of alternative religions.

Religious Persecution in America Today

Religious persecution remains alive and well in the 21st Century, typically falling into two main categories: state-sponsored actions and social hostility.

State-sponsored persecutions include local and state governments forcing businesses to pay insurance premiums covering birth control. Likewise, law enforcement officials and prosecutors are shuttering churches for conducting in-person worship services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Societal persecution ranges from mob violence to church shootings to companies being forced to provide services to same-sex couples despite their religious objections.

As the country moves forward in an increasingly polarized manner, wide-spread religious persecution is rising.

Perhaps a unifying figure like Donald Trump is exactly what America needs to transcend religious persecution. “Defending the freedom of religious believers and organizations” is one of the core priorities for his second term.

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