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Advocates Offer Protections Against Religious Liberty Threats: 'People of Faith Feel Besieged'

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Religious freedom advocates are addressing an uptick in U.S. threats by providing legal and media resources for people and institutes of faith.

"So often Christians and other people of faith feel really besieged right now," Religious Freedom Institute's Eric Patterson told CBN News. "They feel besieged by neo-Marxism, by wokes, by the sexual orientation and gender ideologies that seem to be pressing a new view, that nothing is real. There's no male, there's no female."

Attacks include legal fights, hostile legislation, workplace backlash, arson, and vandalism.

The Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) reports criminals attacked more than 60 pro-life organizations following the Supreme Court's historic Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. RFI also points to attacks against Catholics and a dramatic spike in U.S. anti-semitism since the Oct. 7th Hamas massacre.

Adding to this perfect storm is an aggressive cancel culture and expanding government power. 

"Here's the basic model," Patterson explained. "It is using the power of the state, whether in an unelected human rights commission as they're so-called in Colorado, or using a new interpretation of federal code as we've seen with Title IX."

At the heart of many attacks is a belief that expression of faith should be limited.

"What you'll often hear is 'it's ok for you to worship. There's freedom to worship' which means you can do that behind closed doors at home as long as you don't offend me," said Patterson.

In guiding people on how to express their beliefs outside of the home, advocates are now encouraging the proactive use of resources, such as legal toolkits and guides on how to develop relationships with media.

Vernadette Broyles, president of the Child & Parental Rights campaign, helps pastors and faith-based leaders seeking ministry and legal help for a wide range of issues. Many revolve around gender.

"They need practical counsel and they're crying out for it," she told CBN News.

The campaign's new church transgender guide offers ministry and legal advice, including a close look at governing documents.

"It is far better to embrace your biblical worldview and to document that and to be unapologetic about that," said Broyles. "That is far more protective legally in the long run."

In this political season, Patterson encourages people of faith to look for candidates who argue for the protection of belief and conscience for all. He also recommends leaning on the ways of Christ and offering hope to others.

"This is really a time for engaging in love, love with our neighbors, inviting people over for dinner, getting to know them, listening and just being loving about our faith and our perspective at this time," he said.

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About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim