Campus Ethics Director David DeCosse joined in a public letter with over 140 religious freedom advocates of both conservative and liberal leanings to call on President Trump and the top officials in the U.S. Government to uphold "the bedrock principle of ensuring that all individuals and communities are able to exercise their faith in safety and security."
The occasion for the letter was the massacre of 50 Muslims on March 15, during Friday prayers at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The massacre has been called an act of terrorism and murder, but is also accurately understood as an outrageous violation of the human right to religious freedom shared by people of all faiths and by people of no faith at all.
Moreover, the attack in Christchurch was hardly the only recent instance of violent attacks on places of worship. The letter notes:
"In the United States, these attacks include ones on Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek; Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina; Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota; First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas; and Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania."
In the last years, DeCosse has done extensive work at the Ethics Center on the issue of conscience, which is a key dimension of the related issue of religious freedom. He has co-edited two books: Conscience and Catholicism: Rights, Responsibilities, and Institutional Responses (Orbis 2015) and Conscience and Catholic Health Care: From Clinical Contexts to Government Mandates (Orbis 2017). And he is now at work on a third volume focused on conscience and Catholic education.
The work on conscience at the Ethics Center has been supported by generous gifts from Michael and Phyllis Shea.