Nov 16, 2012 / 03:04 am
The protection of religious freedom worldwide is so essential to democracy and prosperity that it should be considered an issue of “national security” to the U.S. government, says a former diplomat.
“Religious freedom is buried in the bureaucracy and so people understand this is not a priority for us,” Dr. Tom Farr, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs, said Nov. 14.
Farr, who spoke as part of the Family Research Council’s “Cry of the Martyrs” webcast and served as State Department’s first Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom, said that the U.S. needs to implement policies and provide resources to support religious freedom throughout the world.
Created 14 years ago, the Office of International Religious Freedom works to promote religious freedom as a “core objective of U.S. foreign policy,” but Farr said the current administration, as well as its predecessors, has largely fallen short in promoting this issue as foreign policy.
“That needs to change if we’re going to have an impact on persecuted Christians and others around the world,” he said. Protecting religious freedom abroad is “in our interest” since doing so can help emerging democracies to grow beyond just one generation.
“The point is religious freedom can lead to economic development, religious freedom can lead to political development,” Farr said, “There’s plenty of history and plenty of data today that suggests this.”
Even still, Farr said he’s concerned that “our government doesn’t pay much attention to this.” …
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