World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National
World of Faith and Freedom: Why International   Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National          -     By: Thomas A. Farr
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Oxford University Press / 2008 / Hardcover
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World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National

Oxford University Press / 2008 / Hardcover

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Stock No: WW7995X


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Product Description

In this engaging and well-written insider account, Farr offers a closely reasoned argument that religious freedom, the freedom to practice one's own religion in private and in public, is an essential prerequisite for a stable, durable democratic society. If the U.S. wants to foster democracy that lasts, he says, it must focus on fostering religious liberty, especially in its public manifestations, properly limited in a way that advances the common good.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.125 (inches)
ISBN: 0195179951
ISBN-13: 9780195179958

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Publisher's Description

Virtually every trouble spot on the planet has some sort of religious component. One need only consider Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Palestine, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Russia, and China, to name but a few. Looming behind national issues, of course, is the problem of regional Islamist extremism and transnational Islamist terrorism. In all of these sectors, religious tensions, ideas and actors are of great geo-political importance to the United States. Yet, argues Thomas Farr, our foreign policy is gravely handicapped by an inability to understand the role of religion either nationally or globally. There is a strong disinclination in American diplomacy to consider religious factors at all, either as part of the problem or part of the solution. In this engaging and well-written insider account, Farr offers a closely reasoned argument that religious freedom, the freedom to practice one's own religion in private and in public, is an essential prerequisite for a stable, durable democratic society. If the U.S. wants to foster democracy that lasts, he says, it must focus on fostering religious liberty, especially in its public manifestations, properly limited in a way that advances the common good. 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 people's lives.

Author Bio


Thomas F. Farr is Visiting Associate Professor of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. A Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Farr has also taught at West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served for seven years in the U.S. Army, and twenty-one years in the American Foreign Service. Prior to leaving the Foreign Service to write and teach, he served as the U.S. State Department's first Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom. In this capacity he traveled the world to engage with persecuting governments, religious actors and their ideas, and the victims of religious persecution.

Publisher's Description/Author Bio

Virtually every trouble spot on the planet has some sort of religious component. One need only consider Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Palestine, Turkey, India, Pakistan, Russia, and China, to name but a few. Looming behind national issues, of course, is the problem of regional Islamist extremism and transnational Islamist terrorism. In all of these sectors, religious tensions, ideas and actors are of great geo-political importance to the United States. Yet, argues Thomas Farr, our foreign policy is gravely handicapped by an inability to understand the role of religion either nationally or globally. There is a strong disinclination in American diplomacy to consider religious factors at all, either as part of the problem or part of the solution. In this engaging and well-written insider account, Farr offers a closely reasoned argument that religious freedom, the freedom to practice one's own religion in private and in public, is an essential prerequisite for a stable, durable democratic society. If the U.S. wants to foster democracy that lasts, he says, it must focus on fostering religious liberty, especially in its public manifestations, properly limited in a way that advances the common good. 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 people's lives.
Thomas F. Farr is Visiting Associate Professor of Religion and International Affairs at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. A Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Farr has also taught at West Point and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He served for seven years in the U.S. Army, and twenty-one years in the American Foreign Service. Prior to leaving the Foreign Service to write and teach, he served as the U.S. State Department's first Director of the Office of International Religious Freedom. In this capacity he traveled the world to engage with persecuting governments, religious actors and their ideas, and the victims of religious persecution.

Publisher's Weekly

A veteran in foreign affairs offers this lucid case against an American foreign policy that either ignores religion or sees it as an obstacle to human freedom. Farr suggests that American foreign policy is "unduly limiting our capacity to defend ourselves" by overlooking religion as a powerful influence on how nations act. He argues for a strong connection between religion and democracy, urging U.S. foreign policy makers to encourage Islamic and other religious leaders to use their own sacred texts to derive "liberal norms" that promote human dignity. Bright narrative spots, such as the story of a family persecuted in its native land for religion but now living and worshiping freely in the U.S., pepper a too lengthy history of the International Religious Freedom Act. About Islam, the author takes a prescriptive line, setting out concrete steps and arguments for training diplomats about religion. Although the conclusion is thin, one irony stands out: even as America has learned the religious ideology behind the 9/11 attacks, its strategy of promoting democracy has largely ignored "the critical role religion must play if freedom is to endure." (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews


"Thomas Farr's excellent and wide-ranging book demonstrates that promoting religious freedom around the world is not just a good thing in itself, but an indispensable foundation for a just and sane foreign policy. Even better, his book is firmly based on years of first-hand experience within government dealing with these very issues." --Philip Jenkins, author of God's Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe's Religious Crisis


"Our nation's founders understood that democracy cannot flourish without religious liberty. Yet for many decades makers of U.S. foreign policy have paid little heed to this truth. In his thoughtful and insightful new book, Tom Farr, a veteran State Department officer, reminds us of its importance. Devotion to the free exercise of religion must play a central role if the United States is to advance and protect its national interests and exercise responsibly its influence around the globe." --Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and institutions, Princeton University


"The age of ideology has ended. A new age of religion is upon us, a fact with enormous implications for American statecraft. For anyone wanting to understand those implications, Thomas Farr's path-breaking book is essential reading." --Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism


"Give this book to your member of Congress."--World Magazine


"Farr argues compellingly that his fellow career diplomats suffer from a 'religious deficit'; they tend to prefer secularism and to see religion only as a marginal force." --Christian Century


"The singular value of World of Faith and Freedom is that it grasps the genius of the American creed--religious belief as a strong ally of human rights and human reason--and defends its enduring relevance in an age of religious terror."
--Weekly Standard


"Although a passionate believer in religious liberty, [Thomas Farr] comes to the subject as a seasoned professional. Precisely from that perspective he makes the case that for America to give religious freedom its due in foreign policy would be not only virtuous but smart -- realistic idealism at work."
--Catholic World Report


"Dr. Farr has written a very important book. ...The task that Tom Farr sets himself in World of Faith and Freedom is both essential and difficult: to change the corporate mind of the American foreign policy establishment on the relationship between religious conviction and world affairs, and on the role that promoting religious freedom ought to play in U.S. foreign policy. His tone is measured; his analyses are fair and balanced."
--Denver Catholic Register


[World of Faith and Freedom] serves as both a fine personal recollection and an informative history of the embryonic phase of the Offi ce of International Religious Freedom. But it is not merely another inside-the-beltway memoir, for it also provides a fi rst-rate argument for the contention expressed in its subtitle Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security Farr makes a compelling case for placing the issue of religious freedom at the center of American foreign policy. ...[It] should be required reading for all Foreign Service officers and State Department bureaucrats."
--Touchstone


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