Hate crimes up against religious groups, new FBI numbers show

| November 24, 2009

The FBI issued its most recent statistics on hate crimes on Monday — and they showed a slight uptick in hate crimes against religious groups in 2008.

Last year, there were 1,519 incidents against people based on their religion, a 9% increase from the year before.

While anti-Jewish attacks make up the bulk of the incidents — one out of every six — there was a spike in hate crimes against Catholics.

There were 75 incidents against Catholics, up from 61 the year before.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, says the Catholic Church has become more vocal on hot-button issues such as abortion and gay marriage. As the Catholic bishops take a stronger stance, he says, it filters down to the laity, and as more traditional Catholics become more vocal, they become targets for those who disagree with them.

"Unfortunately it spills over into violence," he says.

And Donohue thinks it's just going to get worse before it gets better.

"I've never seen our country so culturally divided and so polarized," he says. And he adds, "These issues are not going away."



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