by Alexa Hassell & Jorge Gomez • 5 minimum reading
Believers in historically Christian countries are self-censoring their religious beliefs at an increasing rate, according to a recent study.
The Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, together with the Observatory of Religious Liberty in Latin America and the International Institute for Religious Liberty, recently published a case study entitled “Perceptions of self-censorship”. Interview testimonies showed that individuals in France, Germany, Mexico and Colombia are afraid to share their religious beliefs outside of their private lives.
Much of this self-censorship stems from fear of retaliation, job loss, or discrimination from the government or their workplace. The study notes:
- In Mexico and Colombia, Christians remain silent on marriage, identity politics, bioethics and morality for fear of legal sanctions
- In France, any form of religious expression outside the private sphere is treated with suspicion.
- In Germany, the word “evangelical” arouses negative connotations and is completely avoided by actors in public life.
Self-censorship does not only affect people abroad. In America, some religious groups and religious leaders also seem to hold back their religious views on certain political topics and issues. A study 2019 from Barna Research found:
- 50% of pastors feel limited in their ability to speak out on social and moral issues
- 44% of pastors feel limited in their ability to speak out about homosexuality/LGBTQ
Likewise, the Cato Institute found that 71% of Americans agree that the current political climate prevents them from expressing their true beliefs. Another one investigation showed that levels of self-censorship in America are at an all-time high since the 1950s.
- In 1954, 13% of Americans did not feel free to express themselves
- In 2019, 40% of Americans did not feel free to express themselves
These results indicate a growing trend of self-censorship in the United States. To some extent, they suggest that believers feel compelled not to speak out as this could lead to retaliation or backlash.
With the growing aggressiveness of woke ideology and toxic cancel culture, it’s no surprise that some are choosing to remain silent. It’s impossible to scroll through the news and not see the story of a religious person being fired, bankrupted, silenced or canceled because of their faith.
Look at what happened to many First Liberty customers. They simply expressed their religious beliefs and exercised their constitutional rights. But in the madness of today’s cancel culture, they’ve paid the price.
Right now, our legal team is fighting for Lacey Smith and Marli Brown, two former Alaska Airline employees who were fired after asking questions about the company’s support for the Equality Act — even though the company invited employees to discuss the topic in an employee-only forum.
We represent Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa. They faced bankruptcy after being hit with a $135,000 fine from the state of Oregon. Why? They chose not to create a personalized cake to celebrate a gay marriage. Expressing their Christian beliefs led to a gag order and an extreme fine. The enemies of freedom tried to silence them and punish them for their non-compliance.
Today, it’s no small feat when religious Americans bring their beliefs and voices to the public square. People of faith in our country, however, should not be forced to self-censor their beliefs. We must not give in to woke anti-religious forces that want us to remain silent and accept defeat.
The historic American solution to this wave of censorship and cultural cancellation is to promote After word. We should encourage people to live their beliefs and express their convictions. America was founded on the promise of free expression of religious beliefs for all. Our nation is built on the principle that we can speak our minds even if government, big business or others disagree. More talk, not less, is the solution.