WASHINGTON (March 29, 2011)—“We remain firmly committed to the defense of religious liberty for all—not just for Catholics—because our commitment is to the dignity of each and every human person,” said Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the retired archbishop of Washington, testifying on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights hearing on “Protecting the Civil Rights of American Muslims.”
“As a community that has been the target of religious discrimination, we understand the need today to bring attention to protecting the civil rights of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” Cardinal McCarrick said. “We see religious freedom as an essential foundation for our life together in our own nation and across the globe.”
Cardinal McCarrick spoke of current threats to religious freedom, noting, “When the very right of conscience is attacked, the ability to exercise religious beliefs is subverted. There are well known contemporary examples where the state would force religious groups and individuals to choose between following their religious beliefs and practices and following the dictates of law.”
He concluded, “As other countries wrestle with how to treat religious minorities, let them look to our nation where we work to ensure that their Muslim sisters and brothers are treated with dignity and their religious identity and beliefs are treated with respect. Let them see a people blessed with hard won religious freedom living out our commitment to the rights of all by demonstrating full respect for the identity, integrity and freedom of all religions.”
Cardinal McCarrick’s written testimony can be found online: http://www.usccb.org/sdwp/Cardinal_McCarrick_Testimony_March_29_hearing.pdf — and a good address it was, hitting all the right notes.