Hate crimes against Catholics in Canada more than tripled in just one year according to a new study from a Christian think tank.
On Thursday, Cardus, a Canadian non-partisan Christian think tank, released its report titled “Toward a Hopeful Future: Facing Down Religious Hate,” which found that in 2021 the “largest spike” in religiously motivated hate crimes occurred against Catholics: from 43 in 2020 to 155 in 2021.
Since 2020, over seventy Catholic churches across the country have been vandalized or burned in “suspicious circumstances,” Cardus found.
Although the spike was highest for Catholics, no religious group escaped growing aggression against people of faith, the report revealed, which coincides with an overall shift in the way Canadians view religion.
“The rise of religious hate crimes is occurring against a backdrop of increasingly negative public attitudes toward the contributions of religion and faith communities to Canada,” the report said.
Ten churches in Alberta were vandalized in a single day as Canada continues to see churches burned to the ground in several provinces. https://t.co/ymRZW3SvVI
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 4, 2021
“Majority opinions are not necessarily linked to hate crimes, of course — only a tiny fraction of Canadians commit hate crimes,” it continued. “Yet it is reasonable to assume that those who are accused of religious hate crimes may be emboldened by a declining respect for or acceptance of religion and religious persons.”
In just five years, from 2017 to 2022, the percentage of Canadians who view the contribution of religion as “very bad” or “more bad than good” jumped from 14 percent to 22 percent, or more than one in five persons, it noted.
Animosity toward people of faith was understandably highest among atheists and agnostics. Among survey respondents who are themselves non-religious, almost half (46 percent) believe that faith communities’ contribution to Canada and Canadian society is mostly negative.
The polling suggests that the primary division in attitudes today is between the religious and the non-religious. Those who are religiously committed, regardless of which religion they adhere to, overall view every religion as more benefitting than damaging to Canadian public life, Cardus proposed.
“The rise in hate crimes against religious communities, and the increasingly negative attitudes on the part of some Canadians toward the presence of religion in public life and the contributions of faith communities, should concern us all,” the report concluded.