An attendee walks past a Catholic Relief Services display during a symposium on international religious freedom at The Catholic University of America in Washington Sept. 12. (CNS/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
WASHINGTON -- While concern over religious freedom is a hot topic of political debate in the United States, the issue internationally is a far more immediate matter of life and death, of national security, and of special concern to women, who are most often the victims of religious intolerance. The stark dimensions of the problem were outlined during an eight-hour symposium Sept. 12 at The Catholic University of America here.
A few of the themes explored at the symposium, titled "International Religious Freedom: An Imperative for Peace and the Common Good," were:
Suppression of religious freedom fosters and begets violence; religious freedom is a necessary ingredient of domestic peace and stability.
The predominant face of the victims of religious discrimination, intolerance or persecution is that of a woman.
Religious freedom is an integral part of an authentically democratic society and its economic and social development.