Dr. Kent Hill, Senior Fellow for Eurasia, Middle East, and Islam with the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI), recently delivered a speech in Romania titled, “The Extraordinary Power of Religious Freedom to Promote Stability and Social Good.”
His remarks came as part of an international conference convened by the State Secretariat for Religious Affairs of the Government of Romania. The conference was titled, “The Positive Side of Religious Freedom: How Governments Can Engage with Religious Organizations.” Among the many conference participants were Ms. Viorica Dăncilă, Prime Minister of the Government of Romania, and His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Dr. Hill began with a straightforward question: Why should diplomats care about religious freedom? A moment later, he emphatically answered his question stating, “I would submit that religious freedom is utterly central to what governments and diplomats ought to pursue, and that religious freedom is vitally connected to virtually every aspect of national well-being, including national security.”
In his wide-ranging remarks, Dr. Hill draws upon figures as diverse as George Washington, St. Augustine of Hippo, James Madison, and St. Maximos the Confessor, as he contended for religious freedom as a matter both of respecting human nature and recognizing the positive correlation between the presence of religious freedom and a variety of key social goods.