Urges people of all faiths to stand for religious freedom

WASHINGTON (CNS) — After receiving the inaugural Religious Freedom Award May 24, Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori encouraged people of all faiths to stand together to defend religious liberty.

“U.S. bishops and faithful Catholics in this country, numerous though we may be, cannot fight the tide of radical secularism alone,” Archbishop Lori said at the 2012 National Religious Freedom Award Dinner, held at the Georgetown Four Seasons Hotel in Washington.

“I’m here to ask for your help. Together, we can achieve great things,” he said.

Speaking to a crowd of 200 people from many faiths who came from across the country to attend an all-day National Religious Freedom Conference, Archbishop Lori said “fighting the tide of secularism in general, and current threats to religious liberty in particular, can seem like a daunting task, (but) we know that with God, all things are possible, and we know that prayer is the ultimate source of our strength in this fight.”

The conference was titled “Rising Threats to Religious Freedom,” and it was sponsored by the American Religious Freedom Program, which is part of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Speakers representing a range of religious backgrounds, and officials from state government and advocacy groups, spoke about threats to religious freedom and conscience rights across the United States, on the federal, state and local level, and in the military.

Archbishop Lori, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, warned that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate on contraceptive coverage “has now become the most critical religious liberty challenge that we face in the United States today.”

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