WASHINGTON – The national observance of Religious Freedom Day is January 16, when the nation’s long‑standing commitment to freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one’s own faith is celebrated. Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. of Youngstown, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, has issued a statement:
“The establishment of a culture of religious freedom is always an ongoing task. 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.
“While the free exercise of religion has long been enshrined in our country’s laws, religious minorities have often experienced encroachments on their ability to practice their faith freely. Even today, many Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and other communities, all in different ways, face challenges to their religious freedom.
“A culture of freedom 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, 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. May we Catholics in America resolve to build on our inheritance for the good of all.”
Keywords: Bishop George Murry, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, religious liberty, religious freedom, Religious Freedom Day.