American flag and Church. / Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Denver Newsroom, Jan 19, 2022 / 09:52 am (CNA).
The Religious Freedom Institute on Tuesday launched a committee to support political candidates who defend the free exercise of religion for all.
The National Committee for Religious Freedom describes itself as a non-partisan organization that will support “any candidate from any political party who supports religious freedom, and oppose any candidate of any political party who does not.”
As part of the Jan. 19 launch, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ committee on religious freedom, hailed the committee’s creation, while lamenting the fact that the “first freedom” of religious liberty is “surely one of the last freedoms to get a committee to safeguard it.”
Dolan recently spoke out against attacks on houses of worship and religious art, saying such attacks are akin to attacking the community who prays there.
Sam Brownback, a Catholic and a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, said the founders of the group are “increasingly concerned with declining religious freedom here at home” and the “exponential” effect that has overseas. He said the committee plans to run educational campaigns and assess candidates’ positions on religious freedom; create voter guides; and ask candidates to sign a pledge to support religious freedom.
Though the founders of the committee— who represent a wide range of religions— don’t agree on all points of theology, Brownback praised the fact that the group was able to come together to support the right of all Americans to “peacefully practice their faith, as is guaranteed by the First Amendment.”
Robert George, a Catholic intellectual and former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom , spoke during during the launch and noted that the committee stands ready to defend the religious freedom of all people, not just Christians.
“What we don’t want is religious freedom for me, but not for thee,” he noted.
A legal group known for representing religious believers in court said late last year that support for religious freedom in America has reached a three year high.