U.S. Must Get Religion

If the United States is to engage the world in a more effective way, it must broaden its view of the role of religion in other countries beyond terrorism and counterterrorism strategies, a new report concluded. Released Feb. 23 by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs, “Engaging Religious Communities Abroad: A New Imperative for U.S. Foreign Policy” called for mandatory training on the role of religion in world affairs for U.S. government and diplomatic officials and recommended that the president clarify that the Establish-ment Clause of the First Amendment does not prohibit U.S. officials from working with religious communities abroad. In the process of engaging religious communities, the report urged that the United States work more closely with schools, hospitals, social services, relief and development and human rights programs sponsored by religious organizations. “While these activities may appear to be nonpolitical, in the aggregate they have a powerful influence over peoples’ lives and loyalties,” the report said.

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