By Deborah Castellano Lubov

All people of faith and all religions being able to worship freely and participate in society, without fear, is what constitutes a culture of freedom…

On the eve of Religious Freedom Day today, January 16, where the United State’s commitment to freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith is celebrated, Jesuit Bishop George V. Murry, of Youngstown, Ohio, and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, stressed this in a statement he issued, to commemorate the day.

“A culture of religious freedom consists of respect for the dignity of others as they seek to live in accordance with the truth about God. All people can thrive in such a culture,” he said, noting the establishment of a culture of religious freedom is always an ongoing task.”

“While the free exercise of religion has long been enshrined in our country’s laws, religious minorities,” he lamented, “have often experienced encroachments on their ability to practice their faith freely.”

“Even today,” the Jesuit Bishop decried, “many Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and other communities, all in different ways, face challenges to their religious freedom.”

“A culture of freedom,” he said, “means that all people of faith and all religious groups are able to freely worship and participate in the life of our society, without fear of intimidation or coercion.”

“On this Religious Freedom Day,” he said, “we are grateful that the right of religious liberty is cherished in this country. I appreciate concrete actions the Administration has undertaken, such as recent steps to protect faith-based social service providers.”

The Chairman of the U.S.C.C.B’s Committee for Religious Liberty concluded, praying: “May we Catholics in America resolve to build on our inheritance for the good of all.”

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