Print | Share | Calendar | Diocesan Locator
|   ir a la versión españolaEN ESPAÑOL
FOLLOW US  Click to go to Facebook.  Click to go to Twitter.  Click to go to YouTube.   TEXT SIZE Click to make text small. Click for medium-sized text. Click to make text large.  

Find Out More

Find the Latest News on our homepage

Learn more about Religious Liberty at Home 

Learn more about International Religious Freedom

Watch current Videos on Religious Liberty

Pray for Religious Liberty at home and abroad

View our Fortnight Image Gallery

Who We Are

Take Action!


Ask Congress to support the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. E-mail your congressional representatives! To learn more, read our one-page fact sheet.

Subscribe to future action alerts today!


Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage & Religious Liberty


Call to Prayer English logo-montage
Join the Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage & Religious Liberty (en español) and receive a new prayer intention each week by email, text message or Facebook.

RLP month Book Disciples Together on the Road Order the Faithful Citizenship book today

Current Threats to Religious Liberty


Printable version

An Overview of Specific Examples

During his September 2015 visit to the United States, Pope Francis emphasized the importance of religious freedom, saying in front of the White House that religious

"freedom remains one of America's most precious possessions. And,
as my brothers, the United States Bishops, have reminded
us, all are called to be vigilant, precisely as good citizens, to
preserve and defend that freedom from everything that
would threaten or compromise it."

Although Americans generally do not face the kind of violent persecution endured by many people of faith around the world, Pope Francis has recently spoken of a "polite persecution" that many people face, as "when someone is persecuted not for confessing Christ's name, but for wanting to demonstrate the values of the Son of God."

Religious freedom continues to be threatened in the U.S.:

  • HHS mandate for sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs. The mandate of the Department of Health and Human Services forces religious institutions to facilitate or fund a product contrary to their own moral teaching. Further, the federal government tries to define which religious institutions are "religious enough" to merit protection of their religious liberty.

  • Catholic foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the State of Illinois forced local Catholic Charities out of adoption or foster care services—by revoking their licenses, ending government contracts, or both—because they refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.

  • State immigration laws. Several states have passed laws that forbid what they call "harboring" undocumented immigrants—and what the Church deems Christian charity and pastoral care to immigrants.

  • Discrimination against small church congregations. New York City adopted a policy that barred the Bronx Household of Faith and other churches from renting public schools on weekends for worship services, even though non-religious groups could rent the same schools for other uses.

  • Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. After years of excellent performance by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require MRS to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching.

  • Christian students on campus. In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law has denied student organization status to only one group, the Christian Legal Society, because it required its leaders to be Christian and to abstain from sexual activity outside of marriage.

Pope Francis has asked American Catholics to preserve and defend religious freedom, both in the United States and throughout the world.

Return to Religious Liberty Home

By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or sponsoring organizations.

cancel  continue