Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Religious Unity, We Need More of This

(Tribune photo)

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of the Chicago Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated Catholic and Mormon unity as the churches and its members strive to work together to protect religious speech.

"I'm personally grateful," George said in a story in the Salt Lake Tribune, reporting as George spoke at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, "that, after 180 years of living mostly apart from one another, Catholics and Latter-day Saints have come to see one another as trustworthy partners in the defense of shared moral principles."

The Tribune goes on to say:

Freedom of religion, George said, is a fundamental right that cannot be reduced merely to a freedom to worship or freedom of conscience, as some in this country now advocate.

Such a limited notion of religious freedom is not the American tradition, he said. "It was the tradition of the Soviet Union."

True religious freedom, he said, includes "the right to exercise influence in the public square."
This kind of unity is going to be increasingly important for people of all faiths as those determined to erase or curtail religious freedoms in the United States band together as well. This kind of unity in a common cause will help those who believe avoid being shut out of public discourse by those who denigrate them for their belief.

This kind of unity also ought to encourage all of us on both sides of this divide to more openly practice the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have others do unto you) and to practice the tolerance the other side preaches. In other words, we can all have a say, publicly and privately on what we believe in. We can work to influence public policy, as is our right.

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