World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security

Synopsis

Virtually every trouble spot on the planet has some sort of religious component, from Iraq and Afghanistan to Israel and Palestine. All of these conflicts are of great geo-political importance and of intense interest to the United States. Yet, argues Thomas Farr, our foreign policy is gravely handicapped by an inability to understand the role of religion in these places and indeed a strong disinclination to consider religious factors as important. In this engaging and well-written insideraccount, Farr offers a closely reasoned argument that religious freedom, the freedom to practice one's own religion without fear or interference, is an essential prerequisite for a democratic society. If the U.S. wants to foster democracy, he says, it must focus on fostering religious liberty. Although we ourselves have developed a remarkably successful model of religious freedom, our foreign policy favors an aggressive secularism that is at odds with the American model. It is essential, says Farr, that we take an approach that recognizes the great importance of religion in peoples' lives.