Catholic League Praises Trump’s ‘Stellar’ U.N. Speech on Religious Freedom

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: (L-R) United Nations (U.N.) Secretary General Antonio Guterres shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump as Vice President Mike Pence looks on at a meeting on religious freedom at U.N. headquarters on September 23, 2019 in New York City. While hundreds of world leaders …
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Catholic League president Bill Donohue praised President Trump’s address on religious liberty delivered at the U.N. Monday, noting that that his administration has produced “a huge improvement over the Obama years” in this area.

“President Trump continued his legacy of defending religious liberty with a stellar address at the United Nations today,” Dr. Donohue said in a statement Monday. “He offered many examples of religious persecution around the globe, stating that 80 percent of the world’s population lives in nations where religious liberty is either restricted or banned altogether.”

Donohue highlighted the “startling statistics” mentioned by the president, including the fact that “11 Christians are killed every day for following the teachings of Christ.”

“That alone is worthy of the kind of international dialogue that the U.N. was founded to address,” Donohue said. “But we need more than dialogue: the perpetrators need to be brought to justice.”

The head of the Catholic League called news of a government-sponsored coalition of U.S. businesses for the protection of religious freedom “the most ground-breaking aspect of President Trump’s statement.”

“This is a huge improvement over the Obama years when religious liberty was privatized to mean freedom to worship,” Donohue said. “People of faith want an expansive and robust interpretation of religious liberty — we are not satisfied to attend religious services.”

The next battleground for religious freedom is the workplace, Donohue declared. “No one should be forced to engage in any religious practice, but neither should they be told to check their beliefs at the office door. Reasonable accommodations can and should be made. This is what the president is getting at, and we welcome it.”

He also underscored the importance of shining a light on the hypocrisy of those who preach diversity and then exclude people of faith.

“Too often people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning, or censoring the faithful,” Mr. Trump said in his address. “True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs.”

According to Dr. Donohue, that last sentence was meant as a shot across the bow to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who have impugned the integrity of Catholic nominees to the federal bench, suggesting that their faith could be an impediment to sound jurisprudence.

Among the examples of this, Donohue recalled how Sen. Dianne Feinstein played the “anti-Catholic card” when grilling Amy Coney Barrett, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017.

“You have a long history believing that your religious beliefs should prevail. When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said.

“Congratulations to President Trump,” Donohue concluded. “He not only made a persuasive case for international religious liberty, he offered specifics on how he is going to contribute to our religious rights at home.”

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