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Legislator warns of growing religious persecution

Posted at 9:19 PM, May 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-30 17:28:30-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — A legislator at the 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington says believers have become targets of ridicule and harsh criticism that could lead to violent persecution.

State Rep. Rebecca Hamilton, D-Okla., said she's received hateful comments for political positions that grow out of her Catholic faith.

Hamilton said bashing religion is now socially acceptable and even applauded, and warned that it's how persecution begins. She said marginalizing and dehumanizing people inevitably leads to violent attacks unless it's stopped.

Jennifer Kraska, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, noted that in floor debate last February before passage of her state's civil union law, a legislator said people who wanted religious exemptions should go live in a "nunnery" or monastery.

Kraska said no one in the Democratic majority rose to condemn those remarks or defend religious rights.