WASHINGTON - As the United States marks Religious Freedom Day today, the Committee for Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued its first annual report on the state of religious freedom in the United States.
“Catholics have a vital role to play in defending religious freedom and promoting the common good,” said Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty.
“Religious freedom is enshrined in our Constitution in the First Amendment—and it is something so vital to the fabric of our country that it is often referred to as our ‘first freedom.’ While most of the founders of our country were not Catholic, there’s much in their vision that resonates with a Catholic understanding of religious freedom. At the same time, we have a distinctive voice and tradition, particularly with our understanding of human dignity, faith and reason, natural law, the common good, and the rich heritage of Catholic social teaching. And so we Catholics have a vital role to play in defending religious freedom and promoting the common good.
“Alongside the great work that many other Catholic and religious liberty organizations are doing, I pray that this report helps raise awareness of the threats to our first freedom here in America, and that it helps Catholics and all people of good will contribute to the common good of these United States.”
The report identifies a wide range of concerns, such as federal agencies misusing laws meant to aid pregnant women in order to promote abortion, threats to the safety of our Jewish and Muslim neighbors, and hostility toward ministries serving migrants and refugees, and suggests how individuals and communities can respond.
Bishop Rhoades also offered further remarks about the report which may be found at: https://youtu.be/JTb5kGqAnbE.