For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 8 Sep 2013.
Cardinal George Pell delivered the Annual Lecture on Religious Freedom at the University of Notre Dame (Australia) School of Law on 22 August 2013. It is a very important statement on a major and controversial public issue.
In many parts of the world, religious freedom is a matter of life or death. Todd Johnson, an expert on Christian demography with the World Christian Database, estimates there were 100,000 new Christian martyrs each year between 2000 and 2010, many from the Sudan and Congo.
He estimates that forty-five million Christians perished in the twentieth century, most of them under the Nazis and the Soviet Communists. The problem also affects people of other faiths.
Cardinal Pell says “the violation of religious freedom is a major problem, not just for those who are killed, hurt and exiled, but also for peace and stability in many regions throughout the world.” We need to strengthen, not erode, religious freedom.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.