Archbishop Rejects Claim Religious Liberty Used as Excuse to Discriminate

Archbishop Rejects Claim Religious Liberty Used as Excuse to Discriminate

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Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Catholic Review)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore sharply criticized comments made by Martin Castro, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, that the phrases “religious liberty” and “religious freedom” were “code words” used to discriminate. “Statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work,” said Archbishop Lori of Castro in a Sept. 13 statement. Archbishop Lori, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, said the notion that people of faith are “comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era” is a “shocking suggestion.” Castro made the statements as part of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ 306-page report, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles With Civil Liberties.” Originally scheduled for issuance in 2013, its release was delayed until Sept. 8 – and even then, two on the seven-member commission dissented from its findings.