Scholars: Promote Religious Freedom

A group of scholars has urged U.S. religious communities to persuade President Barack Obama that the promotion of international religious freedom is vital to national security. During a panel discussion at Georgetown University on April 15, there was agreement among the panelists that the U.S. State Department has underused the International Religious Freedom Act, a 1998 law that was intended to promote religious freedom as a foreign policy of the United States. “There is this erroneous notion that it’s unconstitutional if we are talking to religious leaders around the world,” said Thomas F. Farr, a professor of religion and international affairs. For decades the State Department has operated on the philosophy that religion must be kept out of U.S. diplomatic policy, Farr said.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A rally hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for a Nebraska Democrat prompted a flurry of questions about the party's pro-choice orthodoxy.
Michael O'LoughlinApril 24, 2017
Omaha Democratic mayoral candidate Heath Mello waves to supporters at a rally on April 20.  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
The expulsion of pro-life candidates may doom the Democrats to minority status.
Robert David SullivanApril 24, 2017
Miroslava Breach Velducea. Photo courtesy of Patricia Mayorga.
Four attacks on reporters in such a short timespan have shocked Mexico, already a country press freedom organizations say is one the most dangerous in the Western Hemisphere for journalists.
Jan-Albert HootsenApril 24, 2017
At Rome's Basilica of St. Bartholomew, a shrine to modern martyrs, Pope Francis presided over an evening prayer service April 22, honoring Christians killed under Nazism, communism, dictatorships and terrorism.