Citing Pope Francis, bishops call on Congress to renew religious freedom commission

Washington D.C., Sep 1, 2015 / 12:03 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Congress has only one month to reauthorize the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Many human rights activists and religious leaders have stressed its importance, and the nation’s bishops suggest the commission would help the U.S. fulfill Pope Francis’ call to protect religious minorities.

“Protecting religious freedom is critical to the health of societies,” said the U.S. bishops’ Aug. 26 letter to Congress. They noted that about a quarter of the world’s countries still face high levels of religious hostilities.

“Christians and members of other minority groups are seeking refuge from violence in Syria and Iraq. Religious minorities are jailed on blasphemy and apostasy charges in Pakistan, Burma, and Sudan, just to note a few countries where vulnerable persons can be killed with impunity,” said the letter. It also noted the violence the radical Islamist group Boko Haram has inflicted on both Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

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