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USA: Bishops Conference sets up the Permanent Religious Freedom Committee

In Indianapolis, on the last day of their plenary meeting, the US Bishops decided to set up a Permanent Religious Freedom Committee that will “strengthen and support religious freedom by assisting the bishops” in their efforts “to promote and defend religious freedom in politics and law”, as explained in a release. “Persecution has a face”, said the bishop of Las Cruces, Oscar Cantú, as he introduced the topic at the plenary meeting. According to the figures of the Pew Research Center, Christians are persecuted in 128 countries, Muslims in 125 countries. “This is partly due to the fact that they are the largest religious groups in the world”, the Bishops explained. Focussing attention on Christians “does not mean neglecting the others’ pain” but strengthens “the entire social fabric in the protection of everyone’s rights” and is “inclusive”. The US Church asks the Government to provide assistance to refugees and evacuees, not least through religion-inspired organisations; to assist rehomed refugees, with a special focus on victims of persecution; to encourage the central and regional governments in Iraq and Syria to strengthen the rule of law based on citizenship. The Church will be responsible for encouraging prayers for persecuted people, raise awareness of and support Islam-Christian dialogue, provide material support, lobby the US Government to give refugees assistance and dignity.

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