Pope Francis must defend religious liberty in America

New York Post

Armando Valladares

Thirty years ago, I slid a piece of paper across a table at a secret meeting with the fabled French maritime explorer Jacques Cousteau. In it were dozens of names, all political prisoners in Fidel Castro’s gulags where I spent 22 years of my life. Months later, when Cousteau visited Cuba for research and Castro wanted to scuba dive with him, Cousteau leveraged the release of 80 of those prisoners in exchange. Cousteau used the gift of his fame to change the lives of Cubans for generations to come.

When Pope Francis arrives in the United States this month, he will not barter pictures and backslaps for political prisoners. America is still a nation where its citizens can publicly oppose their political leaders without fear of incarceration. At least for now. But in his unprecedented address to a joint session of Congress, he should protest against the ongoing creation of a new class of prisoners in our society: religious conscientious objectors. [Full Text]

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