Proposals to restrict religion raise 'alarms,' says U.S. bishop

By Junno Arocho Esteves

(CNS) — The threat of terrorism must be confronted sensibly and not by
restrictions based on religion, which ultimately threaten religious freedom and
incite more violence, said Archbishop
William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee
for Religious Liberty.

citizens and as believers, Christians and Catholics in the United States cannot
possibly countenance” denying people entry into the country due solely to
religious affiliation, he told Catholic News Service Dec. 10.

Lori was in Rome for a Dec. 10-12 international conference on Christian persecution in
the world, held at the Pontifical Urbanian University.

the continuing threat of terrorist acts in the West by Islamic State has
caused security concerns, restricting religious liberty in countries like the
United States, he said, could lead to policies that make matters worse.

archbishop was asked about the increasing climate of fear in the wake of
terrorist attacks, as reflected, for example, in recent remarks by Republican
presidential candidate Donald Trump, who called “for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering
the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is
going on” and better understand possible threats. Such proposals, the
archbishop said, have raised “great religious freedom alarms.”

Archbishop Lori told CNS that while
there are growing security concerns and a fear of terrorism, denying entry into
a country based solely on religious affiliation may only worsen the situation.

think those things have to be addressed in sensible ways,” he said. To
address growing security threats, the archbishop stressed that governments must
do so in “ways that do not in fact make this situation worse by inciting
more violence.”

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