Catholic Bishops Concerned About Religious Freedom: News Roundup

In the news this week:   Catholic bishops voice new concerns over religious freedom, a Muslim group is suing the FBI and Border Patrol, the American public says religion news is too sensitized, and other stories.

As promised, the country’s Catholic bishops are ramping up their campaign against what they see as attacks on religious liberties, particularly those of religious conservatives.
 
On Thursday the bishops released a proclamation that expands their concerns beyond those they’ve focused on in the past year — such as the White House move to require some faith-based social service groups to include contraception coverage for employees in their health care plans and a push to have them consider same-sex couples as potential adoptive or foster parents.
 
The document, which U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops staffers said last month was in the works, mentions objections to new local measures, including one in Alabama requiring churches to turn over illegal immigrants and another in New York City limiting the right of churches to use public school buildings for worship on weekends. Washington Post
 
The local Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Michigan) has filed a lawsuit against the FBI and the Customs Border Patrol agencies for alleged "invasive religious questioning" and "prolonged detention" of Muslims at the U.S.-Canada border.
 
The line of questioning of Muslims reportedly included how many times a day they pray and who else prays in their mosques, according to CAIR-Michigan officials.
 
"Invasive religious questioning of American citizens without evidence of criminal activity is not only an affront to the Constitution but is also a waste of taxpayers' dollars," said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid.    The Detroit News
 
Five death-threat letters, the last of which arrived in February, have followed a Sikh American family during the last decade as they moved to various neighborhoods in metropolitan Washington.
 
“Because there seems to be a recurring threat to this family, it is of even greater concern to us,” said Jasjit Singh, executive director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a Washington-based advocacy group. “Given the frequency with which this family was subjected to such incidents, (we) could not take the case lightly, or assume that it this was a childish prank.
 
The group, which is representing the family, said it also could not rule out the possibility that the family is being stalked. Sikh News Network
 
A majority of the American public says religious news coverage is too sensationalized, while less than 30 percent of journalists agree according to a survey released Thursday. Deseret News
 
Don’t believe what the national media tells you, says Dr. Richard Land, a leader with the Southern Baptist Convention, Mitt Romney doesn’t need to worry about his Mormon faith being a problem for evangelical voters at the voting booth.
 
“The fact that we don’t believe that Mormonism is a Christian faith doesn’t mean we would not vote for someone who is Mormon, if they are pro-life,” Land told TIME in an interview on Tuesday. “Romney’s biggest problem with evangelicals has been that he hasn’t been Mormon enough. If he had always held his positions on abortion on marriage that his faith holds, there would be far fewer doubts about him.”
 
Nonetheless, Land said that he expects the national news media to try to make an issue of Romney’s faith in the coming months, in an effort to damage the Republican candidate’s chances.   Time
 
The high tide of "new atheism" may have passed, the archbishop of Canterbury has said in his Easter sermon. Rowan Williams said the atheism v religion debate appeared to be moving on from what he called "a pointless stalemate".
 
"Recent years have seen so many high-profile assaults on the alleged evils of religion that we've almost become used to them; we sigh and pass on, wishing that we could have a bit more of a sensible debate and a bit less hysteria. But there are a few signs that the climate is shifting ever so slightly," he said at Canterbury cathedral. The Guardian