“A healthy pluralism, one which genuinely respects differences and values them as such, does not entail privatizing religions in an attempt to reduce them to the quiet obscurity of the individual’s conscience or to relegate them to the enclosed precincts of churches, synagogues or mosques.” So wrote Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), his Apostolic Exhortation on the proclamation of the Gospel.
Yet all around us — even in the United States — we see the attempt to privatize religion, to make it an entirely interior matter in order to reduce it to quiet obscurity.
With Pope Francis’ arrival in Washington, DC this week, it was fitting that Catholic University of America together with Baylor University and the Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center at Georgetown University held a Religious Freedom Summit last Friday, which I attended along with The Stream‘s executive editor Jay Richards.
Much of the conversation had to do with international religious freedom. Several of the speakers made reference to a study by the Pew Research Center stating that 75% of the world’s population in 2013 lived in countries with “high” or “very high” levels of restriction on religion. But the problem is not just someplace “over there.” The threats to religious liberty in this country are real and continue to grow.
Read the rest here.