"Students of Faith" Video
"Let us pray for the many Christians in the world who still suffer persecution and violence. May God grant them the courage of fidelity." Pope Francis
More than 340 million Christians across the globe live in perpetual fear that they will be punished, harmed or even killed for merely practicing their faith. The annual World Watch List 2021 from Christian charity Open Doors showed this is a huge increase over previous years; the 2019 figure was about 260 million.
Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed for their faith; 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked; 12 Christians are unjustly imprisoned and another 5 are abducted.
Open Doors identified three main trends driving the increase:
"Covid-19 acted as a catalyst for religious persecution through relief discrimination, forced conversion, and as justification for increasing surveillance and censorship."
"Extremist attacks opportunistically spread further throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria to Mali and beyond."
"Chinese censorship systems continue to propagate and spread to emerging surveillance states."(1)
"My heart breaks when I hear of believers in India and Vietnam being refused food and told 'let your God feed you.' Or when I hear of women like a Christian mother-of-three from Egypt who was kidnapped by the Muslim Brotherhood and forced to declare she had 'converted' in a video," said Open Doors CEO, Henrietta Blyth.(2)
"The pandemic has legitimized increased surveillance by totalitarian governments, with China leading the way. And nationalism driven by religious identity is increasing in countries such as India and Turkey." (3)
"It is tragic and unacceptable that this happen to anyone, whatever their
faith or none. Christians will only be freed from persecution
when freedom of religion and belief is guaranteed for all." (1)
Let us Pray: Lord, the plight of our brothers & sisters is deep and the suffering of Christians is severe and frightening. Therefore, we ask you Lord to spare their lives, to grant them patience & courage to continue their witness of Christian values with trust and hope. Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us to live with each other without fear and anxiety, with dignity and joy. Amen
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN A MINUTE
Significant Rise in Christian Persecution Worldwide
CLICK BELOW TO LEARN ABOUT & DEFEND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
STUDENTS MAY PRAY IN SCHOOL
ARE NOT “GOD-FREE ZONES”
America’s children need not leave their faith outside the school house door.
For students to be silenced or disciplined by a school authority for appropriate religious expression should never happen. Sadly, young students may well conclude…
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AT WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES: DEFENDING FREEDOM OF RELIGION
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RALLY 2018
IN SERVICE TO THE CHURCH
Click here to watch Barbara on TeleCare TV.
NATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY
Click here to view a video about National Religious Freedom Day 2014.
Barbara Samuells, president of Catholics for Freedom of Religion and a parishioner at St. Matthew’s, Dix Hills, shares her experience at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Pope Francis has observed that “religion [cannot] be relegated to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and national life.” Evangelii Gaudium. . . , no. 183. In insisting that our liberties as Americans be respected, Pope Benedict XVI said that this work belongs to “an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture.” Therefore, catechesis on religious liberty is not the work of priests alone. If religious liberty is not properly understood, all people suffer and are deprived of the essential contribution to the common good, be it in education, health care, feeding the hungry, civil rights, and social services that individuals make every day, both here at home and overseas.
CATHOLICS FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION
America’s First Amendment guarantees its citizens five freedoms, the first of which is Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Religion includes the freedom to worship according to one’s beliefs as well as the freedom to practice that faith in everyday life according to one’s conscience.
So that this First Amendment freedom may be practiced and preserved for generations yet unborn it is essential that Americans understand this freedom and the circumstances from which it came. A fitting place for the development of this understanding and protection of Religious Freedom is inside all faith communities.
Catholics for Freedom of Religion offers resources to parish members who work to support Religious Freedom by initiating parish laity groups with these suggested goals:
To educate and inspire for Freedom of Religion
To remain non-partisan, advocating for no candidate or party
To invite and include other faith communities
To become a permanent group within each parish to educate every generation of Catholics about our Freedom of Religion…how rare it is, how dearly it was purchased for us and how certainly it is being lost.
To recognize and oppose attacks on Freedom of Religion from any source
“We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, that religion, or the duty we owe our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. The religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right.” James Madison
“While Americans presume that the Constitution guarantees their rights, in practice our rights survive or disappear based on how firmly we defend them.” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput