Such a motivation for violence is an example of the type of social hostilities involving religion reported in a Pew Research study.
The study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life found that United States was among the 16 countries whose scores on both the Government Restrictions Index and the Social Hostilities Index increased by one point or more in the year ending in mid-2010. This was the first time scores for the U.S. increased on both indexes during the four-year period covered in this study.
The U.S. score on the Social Hostilities Index also rose, from 2.0 as of mid-2009 to 3.4 as of mid-2010, moving the U.S. from the lower end of the moderate range of hostilities to the upper end of the moderate range. (Social Hostilities Index scores 3.6 or higher are categorized as high by this study.)
Other forms of social hostilities involving religion also increased in the U.S. during the most recent year studied. In Murfreesboro, Tenn., for example, some county residents attempted to block the construction of a mosque in the spring of 2010 by claiming, as reported by the Justice Department, that Islam is a “political ideology rather than a religion” and that “mosques are political rather than religious in nature.” (The mosque officially opened in August 2012, but opponents are still challenging the mosque in federal court.)
The increase in social hostilities in the U.S. also reflects a rise in the number of reported religion-related workplace discrimination complaints. The number of such complaints filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rose from 3,386 in the fiscal year ending on Sept. 30, 2009, to 3,790 in the year ending on Sept. 30, 2010. The number of cases that the EEOC determined had “reasonable cause” rose from 136 to 314 during this period.
In the photo above, a Boston police officer clears Boylston Street following an explosion at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon in Boston, Monday, April 15, 2013. Two explosions shattered the euphoria at the finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)