Religious Liberty and National Security: Opportunities for Secretary Pompeo
May 2, 2018 12:00 ET

Opening remarks by FRC President Tony Perkins, followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Thomas Farr and Prof. Robert Destro, moderated by FRC's Travis Weber

In recent history, United States foreign policy has approached the issue of religious freedom as a humanitarian issue—to be addressed when possible, but not incorporated into any wider, strategic thinking about security in the world order.

But what if it should be? Our one-off approach may have succeeded in isolated cases, but it has not really advanced religious freedom worldwide in any comprehensive, meaningful sense. Moreover, a developing body of evidence suggests that the presence of religious freedom is significantly connected to security, stability, and prosperity. In other words, we should understand that our safety at home seems increasingly related to religious freedom elsewhere. With ongoing, global security threats showing no sign of abating, should we at least be open to the possibility that we need to change our thinking on this issue?

Join FRC and guest experts as they discuss the implications of these findings for our foreign policy, and what Secretary of State Pompeo might do to shift America's approach on this issue.

For an introduction to this topic, please see FRC's new Issue Analysis: "Religious Freedom and National Security"

Dr. Thomas Farr is President of the Religious Freedom Institute, a non-profit that defends religious freedom for all people. He also directs the Religious Freedom Research Project at the Berkley Center of Georgetown University, where is he an associate professor of the practice of religion and world affairs. Farr was the first director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom, served in both the U.S. Army and the American Foreign Service, and taught at the U.S. Military Academy and Air Force Academy. Dr. Farr served as a State Department advisor during US-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva, a member of the Secretary of State's working group on International Religious Freedom, Democracy, and Stability, and teaches regularly at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in Washington, D.C. Dr. Farr received his Ph.D. in modern British and European history from the University of North Carolina. He wrote a book focused entirely on the very topic of this event: “World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security.”

Professor Robert Destro is Professor of Law and founding Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion at Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, and co-director of the Iraqi Kurdistan Religious Freedom Project. His areas of legal specialization include: freedom of speech and religion in the United States and abroad, religious discrimination in the law, and comparative constitutional law. Professor Destro has contributed to a number of books, published numerous scholarly articles, and is the co-author of Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society (Carolina Academic Press, 2d ed., 2002; 3d edition, forthcoming). He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University in Ohio, and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

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