New Committee Supports Candidates who Favor Religious Liberty; Trump and Evangelical Christians; Majority of Americans Believe Religion Under Attack; Court: Civil Authorities Have No Say Over Religious Governance; Thich Nhat Hanh Passes; Christianity World’s Largest Religion Despite Obstacles

New Committee Supports Candidates who Favor Religious Liberty
US to Welcome Record Low of Persecuted; Refugee Crisis is at Record HighThe Religious Freedom Institute on Tuesday launched a committee to support political candidates who defend the free exercise of religion for all. The National Committee for Religious Freedom describes itself as a non-partisan organization that will support “any candidate from any political party who supports religious freedom, and oppose any candidate of any political party who does not.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, hailed the committee’s creation, while lamenting the fact that the “first freedom” of religious liberty is “surely one of the last freedoms to get a committee to safeguard it.” Sam Brownback, a Catholic and a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, said the committee plans to run educational campaigns and assess candidates’ positions on religious freedom; create voter guides; and ask candidates to sign a pledge to support religious freedom.

Trump and Evangelical Christians

During his time in office, former President Donald Trump embraced a Christian nationalist stance. Now, despite being out of office for nearly a year, those beliefs continue to spread. An NPR podcast explores the rift among evangelical Christians as to political affiliation and support for former President Trump.

Majority of Americans Believe Religion Under Attack
Last Known Nazi Guard Deported After Decades in the U.S. Dies in GermanyAmericans believe religion is under attack, a new I&I/TIPP poll found. A total of 52 percent said they agreed with the statement that “religion is under attack in the U.S.” while 40 percent said they disagreed with the statement, and about 9 percent said they weren’t sure, tippinsights reported Monday. Seventy-four percent of Republicans, and 44 percent of Democrats, agreed with the statement.

Court: Civil Authorities Have No Say Over Religious Governance
Pope Frances Calls Out Catholic ChurchThe 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has ruled in favor of a Roman Catholic Church that was sued by a former employee, saying churches and religious groups have the right to hire and supervise staff according to their beliefs — without government intrusion. “Civil authorities have no say over matters of religious governance. … This invitation to turn the spiritual into the secular raises the concern of chilling religious-based speech in the religious workplace,” the court’s ruling said, noting, “The hostile environment claims before us present a conflict between two of the highest values in our society and legal system: religious liberty and non-discrimination in employment.”

Thich Nhat Hanh Passes

Thich Nhat Hanh, a prominent Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist and leading voice in opposition to the Vietnam War, has died at Tu Hieu Temple in Hue, Vietnam. He was 95. The monastic organization that he founded, Plum Village, announced the news, saying Thich Nhat Hanh passed away “peacefully” on Saturday morning local time. “Thay [Thich Nhat Hanh] has been the most extraordinary teacher, whose peace, tender compassion, and bright wisdom has touched the lives of millions,” the Plum Village statement said. World Religion News published a profile of the religious leader in June of last year.

Christianity World’s Largest Religion Despite Obstacles
U.S. Catholics are Politically DividedFalling fertility rates and a growing population of youths who may be less religiously inclined are factors in the decline of organized faith worldwide. In addition, some 41 percent of nations ban some religious groups. Among them are two of the world’s largest countries by population: Russia and China. In spite of that, Christianity is not only America’s but the world’s largest religion.