Fortnight for Freedom, sponsored by the US bishops, aims to promote religious freedom. It will take place in the US from 21 June to 4 July 2014. The focus is on the right to serve the poor and vulnerable with human dignity and in accordance with Catholic church teaching.
The website of the US Bishops, usccb.org, provides fact sheets on areas of social policy which, in the US, are believed to be affected by a diminishment in religious freedom: healthcare, marriage, adoption services, humanitarian services, Catholic students on campus, and pastoral care to immigrants
Fortnight for Freedom draws our attention to the countries in the world where religious freedom is denied by governments or militant groups acting with impunity. The USA based group Open Doors publishes a list of the worst countries in which to be a Christian. These are North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen. Adherents of other religions are denied freedom of religious expression too and the US State Department lists Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan as ‘countries of concern’. A US Congress committee, USCIRF, which acts as a watch-dog on religious freedom wants Iraq, Nigeria, Tajikistan, and Syria added to the US State Department’s list.
Religious freedom is a human right. Let us remember those of all faiths in all countries who suffer because of their religious beliefs.