Reflecting back on 2007, a California pro-family group has identified what it considers the worse cases of hostility toward faith, family, and freedom in the state.
At the top of Pacific Justice Institute's "National Hall of Shame" was a California bill allowing public school children to arbitrarily choose their gender or sexual orientation. In October, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the legislation, known as SB77 or the "homosexual indoctrination" bill, which adds gender and sexual orientation to a list of traits protected under the state's education code on discrimination.
Pro-family groups, however, say the legislation, which will take effect in January, will not only promote transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality to impressionable children but also lead to situations where children can enter any bathroom or locker room they choose because prohibiting them would be discriminatory under the law.
The issue has many pro-family groups seeking legal recourse to overturn the law. Capitol Resource Institute, a Sacramento-based pro-family group, is in the process of gathering the 400,000 petition signatures required by Jan. 10 in order to place the issue before voters on the 2008 ballot.
"This is absolutely one of the most radical pieces of legislation we have ever seen," Karen England, the group's executive director, told USA Today.
Another group, Advocates for Faith and Freedom has filed suit in U.S. District Court, contending the law "will eliminate the biological understanding of the term 'gender.' "
Ranking second on list of PJI's top offenders was a Hate Crimes Bill (HR 1592), which would add "actual or perceived" sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of federally protected classes.
The institute said the legislation "could criminalize speech by clergy," who may preach to churchgoers that homosexuality is sinful.
Earlier this month, congress dropped the legislation, which was tacked onto the 2008 Defense Authorization bill.
Other instances of hostility toward faith and freedom that made the list include a school's attempt to censor God out of private yearbook ad, the suspension of over 100 students for wearing t-shirts displaying a Bible verse, and the refusal by the Red Cross to accept Bible donations to California fire victims.
Recent events show that the growing sense of antagonism toward faith and religion, particularly Christianity, is not an isolated case in California.
Two weeks ago, a 24-year-old killed five people, including himself, after opening fire at two ministry sites in Colorado in what appeared to be an act of revenge against Christians.
Police officials later discovered an anti-Christian online message posted by gunman Matthew Murray in between shootings, and some believe that he had acted out of revenge against Christians. Subsequent reports also revealed that Murray, despite his religious upbringing, had been studying the teachings of Aleister Crowley, the late occult author who is considered a mentor to the founder of the Church of Satan.
Dr. Gary Cass, founder of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, who authors a book entitled Christian Bashing, called the incident the worst case of Christian bashing and bigotry this year, according to World Net Daily.
"It is clear that persecution has not ceased to exist in the modern era," said Cass in a statement. "Defamation, which leads to marginalization and persecution, is not an irrational fear for Christians."
On the Web: To view the full list of hostile incidents by Pacific Justice Institute, visit www.pji.org