PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Reminds Bishops: Christians Indeed Persecuted, but Not Here

Posted July 05, 2012

During wrap-up of bishops’ election-year “Fortnight for Freedom,” Catholics express disappointment at division caused by politics from the pulpit

WASHINGTON – Last Sunday, in the small town of Garissa in Kenya, 17 Christians were shot to death while attending church. This was not a random attack -- they were massacred simply for living their beliefs.

Today, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the US Catholic bishops ended the “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign, which claimed that because employees of Catholic hospitals and universities now have coverage of contraception, the Catholic Church in America is somehow under intense persecution.

“If anything, the bishops’ election-year activity demeans the Christian witness of those seventeen men, women and children who were slaughtered this week,” said Catholics United executive director James Salt. “Instead of being a voice for the poor and weak, church leadership is more interested in political power. Because of these election-year antics, more people are growing disillusioned with the Church in America. To use red-hot rhetoric about ‘religious persecution’ when it doesn’t exist is not only irresponsible, it’s driving Catholics away.”

In an effort to commemorate the lives of those who died Sunday in Kenya, Catholics United has pledged to collect donations from faithful Catholics and people of good will who are upset by this overt politicization of the faith. CU’s alternative donation site,, is taking donations now to support the families of those who lost lives because of real religious persecution.

Founded in 2004, Catholics United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition. For more information about Catholics United, follow us on our Facebook page ( or on our blog at