Religious Freedom Project

Three Ways the 45th President Can Advance International Religious Freedom

By Travis Wussow and Matthew Hawkins

While both candidates have talked in vague terms about combatting the Islamic State, neither has enunciated a vision for promoting religious freedom as a common good that is severely deficient across the world. This need not be the case. Here are three ways the 45th president can leverage existing resources to advance this strategic value as an essential part of American foreign policy

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Liberalism in Action: A Response to "Illiberal Liberalism?"

By: Teresa Donnellan

On Tuesday, October 27, the Religious Freedom Project held an event titled, “Illiberal Liberalism? The Fate of Religious Freedom in the Public Square.” The panel, moderated by RFP Associate Director Timothy Shah, featured Kirsten Powers, a political pundit and author of recent book The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech; Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Phil Zuckerman, a professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, and founder of the nation’s first secular studies university department. 

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Fighting Terror With Religious Freedom Abroad

By: Kelly Thomas

As an undergraduate majoring in international politics with a focus on defense policy and counterterrorism strategy, it seems unlikely that the most academically formative position I’d have undergraduate career would be as a research assistant for a project oriented around the study, and protection, of religious liberty. My two academic interests had always been international security and theology, which seemed divergent to say the least. However, it was through my work at the Religious Freedom Project, and also as student in Thomas Farr’s two classes on the “Politics of International Religious Freedom” and “Religion, Justice, and American National Security,” that I realized how very intertwined religious freedom was, and remains, to the national security challenges currently facing the United States.

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Putting Things in Context: Toward a More Robust Understanding of Religious Freedom

By: Viet Phuong Dao

Who in the West dislikes religious freedom? If I were to conduct a Jimmy Kimmel-style interview in Time Square, on the Champs-Élysées, or under the Brandenburg Gate, I would probably—if not, almost definitely—find that the average citizen in Western democracies thinks that religious freedom is a pretty good idea. Ask those same people what religious freedom actually means, and I bet their answers will be vague and confused, filled with “uh” and “um.” If I wanted to take things a step further, I might ask them if the freedom of religion trumps privacy rights or the freedom of speech. The responses I get—if I get any at all—will probably be punctuated with nervous laughter and uncomfortable side glances. Everyone in the liberal West likes religious freedom, until someone confronts them with the complexities of lived human experience.

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Connecting the Dots: Religion and Foreign Policy

By: Olivia Lamb

Over the past school year, I have had the unique opportunity and privilege to work with the Religious Freedom Project. The past ten months have been both personally enriching and academically enlightening. During my time with the RFP, I was able to publish my first publication, a blog post on the history of religion in China. It has also provided me with access to scholars and researchers that are in the field and doing the research that I am interested in. All of my papers I have completed in my graduate program have been about religion in China, a crucial country in the future of religious freedom, as it is projected to have the world’s largest Christian population by 2035. Whether it was writing about the historical relationship between economic prosperity and the status of religious freedom in China or attending events about Muslim minorities in Western Europe, the work of RFP scholars has helped inform my time at Georgetown and my understanding of the issues facing the future of religious freedom. 

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