Religious Freedom and International Diplomacy

Thomas F. Farr

in The Future of Religious Freedom

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199930890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980581 | DOI:
Religious Freedom and International Diplomacy

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This chapter begins with a discussion of the importance of religious freedom to international peace, development, and ordered liberty, especially in an emergent 21st Century marked by powerful religious actors and ideas. It then explores why United States diplomats and their counterparts around the world have failed to promote religious liberty as a vital means of achieving strategic objectives. It demonstrates that intellectual assumptions and blinders lead foreign policy makers to view religious freedom as a humanitarian cause of peripheral concern to the main currents of international engagement. The chapter critiques the approaches of successive presidential administrations, but finds particular indifference in the actions of the Obama Administration. This is particularly troubling because European countries and western institutions provide even less grounded support for religious liberty in diplomatic circles. To the extent that leading nations in the West fail to grasp the centrality of religious freedom, stable democracy and international peace will be all the harder to achieve.

Keywords: International Religious Freedom Act; religion and diplomacy; Obama; international religious freedom; security; peacemaking; democracy; Obama Cairo speech; European secularism; terrorism

Chapter.  10635 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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