Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York championed the importance of religious freedom at a patriotic-themed gathering in Utah on Sunday, appearing with religious leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We come together as neighbors, we come together as a family, we come together as friends,” Cardinal Dolan said. “See, that gives a counterexample to those who would love to caricature us as these bigoted, hateful, violent people. And we can't allow that to happen.”
The Cardinal added that religious freedom “is important for all of culture and all of society, not just for people of faith.”
Cardinal Dolan gave the keynote address to a crowd of 3,000 at Utah Valley University UCCU Center in Orem, Utah, on Sunday. The speech was part of America’s Freedom Festival at Provo which is an annual patriotic gathering held around Independence Day to promote American values of faith, freedom, patriotism, and family.
He appeared with Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Mormon faith, at Sunday’s event. On Monday Dolan met with church President Russell M. Nelson who presented him a statue of the Christus.
The Cardinal has previously worked with Mormon leaders on matters of religious freedom, faith, marriage and humanitarian efforts, including a 2017 ecumenical meeting in New York City with Mormon and Jewish leaders.
“To have us be able to work together on things that would bless this country,” Cook said, “whether they're of a faith or no faith at all, has been an incredibly significant thing, as far as we're concerned.”
Both Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Oscar Solis of the Diocese of Salt Lake City on Sunday emphasized that love of country should go together with love of God.
"We have to remember that patriotism is a biblical virtue,” said Cardinal Dolan, adding that it is important “to see people coming together — especially to see our young people — to show that we're not alone in our love for God and country.”
“We have to bring God and patriotism together. It’s a great formula for a healthy society,” said Bishop Solis.
“Religious liberty is very essential for us, and that it is defined as the First Amendment in this country, and that is why we need to safeguard and uphold, because this is a precious gift.”