The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops today issued a report, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty: A Statement on Religious Liberty, on threats to religious freedom  in America and abroad. The report lists several recent actions by the federal and state governments that endanger religious freedom — including the HHS contraception mandate, state laws that forbid assistance to illegal aliens, and moves by public universities to deny recognition to evangelical groups on campus — and discusses the persecution  suffered by religious minorities, often Christians, in other parts of the world. The report calls on clergy and lay Catholics, as well as adherents of other faiths, “to impress upon our elected representatives the importance of continued protection of religious liberty in a free society.” In particular, the report proposes that Catholic bishops in America organize a “fortnight for freedom” this summer, a fourteen-day “period of prayer, study, catechesis, and public action [to] emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.”

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