Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Is Religious Freedom Essential for the Choice of Faith?

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns freedom of religion. Religious freedom was discussed recently in Rome, Italy, by leaders from numerous religions. Pope Paul VI welcomed guests to the 2022 Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit.

            G. Marcus Cole, dean of Notre Dame Law School and founder of the Notre Dame Religious Liberty initiative, addressed the theme of the summit – “Dignitatis Humanae.” According to Jeffrey D. Allred, Cole said that “Religious freedom is a necessary precondition for anyone to choose a faith.” He quoted Cole as saying, “The world is also learning that it is an essential precondition for political freedom, economic prosperity and human flourishing.” 

During his remarks in Rome, Cole said founders of the Notre Dame Religious Liberty Initiative conceived of it as a comprehensive approach to preserve, protect, restore and defend religious freedom in the United States and around the world. “While we come from many different faith traditions, and some from none at all, we are all here today because we share the fundamental belief that freedom of religion and freedom of conscience are essential to human flourishing. Indeed, they are fundamental human rights.”

            The theme for the summit was taken from a statement made by Pope Paul VI on December 7, 1965, at the end of Vatican Council II. Jeffrey D. Allred indicated that this declaration states the reason the Catholic Church supports freedom of religion. “The protection and defense of religious freedom is central to the Catholic faith today.”

            President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He gave the keynote address at the summit and called for “a global effort to defend and advance the religious freedom of all the children of God in every nation of the world.” 

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