Commonweal Calls Bishops’ Statement on Religious Liberty Exaggerated, Counter-Productive

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Editors Warn of Danger of Partisanship

Commonweal Magazine, the prominent journal of opinion edited by lay Catholics, today published a response strongly critical of the statement on religious liberty issued earlier this week by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“The bishops are right to call for vigilance on behalf of religious liberty,” say Commonweal's editors. “Unfortunately, the tenor of their statement clearly runs the risk of making this into a partisan issue during a presidential election.”

The response, released today on Commonweal’s Web site, says that the bishops’ statement “vastly exaggerates” the extent to which American freedoms of all sorts and of religious freedom in particular are threatened. In addition, by neglecting the growing hostility to Islam in the United States, the statement will “feed the impression that this ‘campaign’ for religious freedom has been politically tailored.”

The bishops’ statement, called “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty,” calls on Catholics and others to resist what the bishops characterize as unprecedented threats to religious freedom, including a national campaign of resistance as well as a “Fortnight for Freedom” leading up to this year’s Fourth of July celebration.

Commonweal is a biweekly journal of opinion published by lay Catholics since 1924, offering commentary on religion, politics, culture, media, and the arts.

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Paul Baumann
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