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CBS Airs WORKING FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM Special Tonight

WORKING FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, a CBS Interfaith Special, will be broadcast tonight, Dec. 9 on the CBS Television Network. The U.S. Constitution guarantees all citizens equal rights regardless of religion. But what does religious freedom mean in the most religiously diverse country in the world? This program explores this matter, particularly among our religious minorities. While the government remains neutral in matters of religion, some fringe groups create fear of “the other” through hate speech and even violence. To counter this, watchdog organizations and religious scholars work to protect this freedom for religious minorities.

Charles C. Haynes, a Senior Scholar with the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center, speaks about the great threat to religious freedom present today. Also, as the Director of Religious Freedom Education Project, he explores with us what religious freedom means and why such discrimination of religious minorities is the greatest threat to freedom of religion.

Also featured is the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of the Interfaith Alliance and a much-respected voice dealing with this issue over the past few decades. Then K. Hollyn Hollman, General Counsel for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC), speaks to the principles inherent in religious freedom, and how this organization works to protect those rights for all citizens.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the USA. We speak with two staff members. Staff Attorney Gadier Abbas and National Legislative Director Corey Saylor address “Islamophobia” and how anti-Muslim sentiment is affecting the civil and religious rights of the Muslim community.

The Sikh Coalition’s Director of Law and Policy, RajDeep Singh, tells us of the efforts to bring equal protection under the law to the Sikh Community. The recent Oak Ridge tragedy, where a lone gunman opened fire on members of the local Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, led to a Senate hearing on hate crimes, where the Sikh Coalition asked the FBI to track hate crimes against Sikhs.

Lastly we hear from Dr. Chris Seiple, President of The Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) which is a “Think and Do Tank” working for religious freedom worldwide. It is important to know that 70% of the world’s people live in a nation where religious freedom is highly restricted.

John P. Blessington is the executive producer and Liz Kineke is the producer. This documentary is produced in cooperation with The National Council of Churches, a consortium of Roman Catholic organizations, The Islamic Society of North America, and The Union of Reform Judaism, and the New York Board of Rabbis.

Following the Dec. 9 air date this program may be viewed again on: www.cbsnews.com/religionculture. “Like” us on Facebook.com/CBSReligion and follow us on Twitter @CBSReligion.


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