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.
Scholars: Promote Religious Freedom