By: Fr. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
The state of affairs for international religious freedom is worsening in both the depth and breadth of violations. The blatant assaults have become so frightening—attempted genocide, the slaughter of innocents, and wholesale destruction of places of worship—that less egregious abuses go unnoticed or at least unappreciated. Many observers have become numb to violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/26/uscirfs-annual-reportrising-tide-of-religious-freedom-abuses-abroad
By Kent Hill
How have Christians in Iraq and Syria responded to the persecution, conflict, and anarchy, and why have they chosen which response? Why one response is chosen over another is invariably a complicated and sometimes mysterious interplay between that which they can control and that which they cannot. At different times, different responses are called for.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/17/christian-persecution-in-the-midst-of-chaos-the-cauldron-of-iraq-and-syria
By Mariz Tadros
It is customary for Copts – Egypt’s roughly 9 million strong Christian population– to celebrate Palm Sunday at church, waving palm fronds and singing joyful chants that go back to ancient times to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, days before his crucifixion. They did not expect the service to be interrupted by bodies being ripped apart.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/12/copts-of-egypt-from-survivors-of-sectarian-violence-to-targets-of-terrorism
By Christian Van Gorder
As we approach the Easter holiday it is not only time to celebrate our faith but also to honor our sisters and brothers who risk so much to stand for their faith in many nations around the world. This past week when I read about Christian churches being attacked in Egypt I had to ask myself the same question that you might have asked yourself: Would I attend a church service if attending might cost me my life or the life of one of my children? This question is not a theoretical one in many places around the world and this should give all of us a deeper sense of perspective about how precious our faith really is for all of us.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/15/prison-credentials-a-reflection-for-easter-2017
By Fr. Robert Dowd
Through my own research on how Christians in northeastern Nigeria and coastal-northeastern Kenya have responded to attacks by Boko Haram and al-Shabaab respectively, it has become clear to me that religious freedom is not something that a state’s constitution can guarantee. As important as constitutional guarantees are, religious freedom will only be realized in reality if there is a culture of religious freedom. Such a culture is based on mutual respect and that is best realized through interaction and ongoing dialogue between members (and not just leaders) of different religious groups. A culture of religious freedom makes religious persecution practically unthinkable for most people.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/15/the-importance-of-building-and-sustaining-a-culture-of-religious-freedom-lessons-from-nigeria-and-kenya