Church urged to work with women's groups in cause of religious freedom
September 14, 2012 at 2:18 PM
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Because religious intolerance disproportionately affects women worldwide, the church should enter into "unlikely alliances" with women's groups to make the case that such intolerance should be curbed, said a speaker at a Sept. 12 forum.
"International religious freedom has a face, and it is the face of women," said Maryann Cusimano Love, an associate professor of international relations at The Catholic University of America in Washington. She made the comments during a panel discussion on what the Catholic Church can do to defend religious freedom abroad at the forum, "International Religious Freedom: An Imperative for Peace and the Common Good," on the university's campus.
The event was co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; the university and the university's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies; and Catholic Relief Services, which is the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency. Church leaders and others came together to discuss religious freedom issues in different regions and countries, including the Middle East, Africa and Cuba. Women are more religious than men, so attacks on religious freedom affect women more than they do men, said Cusimano Love.
About 70 percent of refugees and internally displaced peoples, often on the move because of religious repression where they live, are women and children, she added. Women and children are also harmed more, she argued, when groups block the delivery of aid by such organizations as CRS and Caritas Internationalis.