Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby have called for the British government to do more to protect Christians facing persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief.
In a joint statement from the Catholic Church and the Church of England, the two prelates said the government should promote freedom of religion and belief as a fundamental human right. They also called on Government to promote freedom of religion through foreign, aid, security, trade, resettlement and asylum policy, rather than treating it as an isolated diplomatic activity.
Their call comes in response to a government review into religious freedom, launched by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt earlier this year. The review is being led by Philip Mountstephen, Anglican Bishop of Truro.
Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop Welby said in a joint letter:
“Christians form an important part of the social fabric in almost every country of the world. Yet in many places, our Christian sisters and brothers face persecution of an intensity and extent unprecedented in many centuries.
“This Submission is shaped by their voices and by our commitment to make them heard.
“We must remember, too, that these threats to freedom of religion or belief are not restricted to Christians alone. Rather, it is a widespread experience of the followers of other faiths. Many are deprived of this basic expression of their human dignity. Similar threats are also faced by atheists and agnostics who seek to uphold crucial decisions of conscience.
“We ask Her Majesty’s Government to take note of the practical recommendations offered by our Churches in this Submission and to take meaningful action not only in protecting Christians facing persecution but also in promoting freedom of religion and belief more widely.”
Read more at Catholic Herald.