A couple of weeks ago, the 2014 Report on “Religious Freedom in the World” was published by Aid to the Church in Need, a Pontifical Foundation entity.

Aid to the Church in Need monitors religious liberty around the world. Its latest report covered the period October 2012 to June 2014. It concluded that of the world’s 196 countries, changes in the condition of religious liberty were noted in 61 of them: in only six countries did things improve; conditions worsened in the other 55.

In 81 countries, or 41 percent of the total, religious freedom was recorded as either impaired or in decline. Muslim countries were the worst offenders: no group was persecuted more than Christians; also, Jews and other Muslims did not fare well. Secular authoritarian regimes, e.g., North Korea and China, also have a horrible record.

Comparatively speaking, religious liberty in the U.S. is in good shape; there is little outright oppression. However, conditions are deteriorating, thanks to the efforts of left-wing activists. Issues such as “faith schools, homosexual marriage and euthanasia” are driving the conflict between “progressives” and traditionalists. The report observes that “where the rights of homosexuals or gender equality campaigners conflict with the rights of conscience of religious believers, the former groups usually take precedence.” What is particularly outrageous about this situation is the fact that religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment.

In other words, it is open season on Christians: in nations run by Muslims and communists, they are being murdered and oppressed in record numbers; in democratic nations, they are being discriminated against by militant secularists. This is where religious extremists and secular extremists come together. Both are a menace to religious liberty.

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