"Not Taking Religion as Seriously as We Should": Call to Government from Religious Freedom Coalition

Washington Coalition
Dr. Tom Farr speaks at the Coalition meeting. Dr John Graz (L), Attorney James Standish (R)

Silver Spring, Maryland...; The major problem with government and foreign policy is that "we're not taking religion as seriously as we should," according to the featured speaker at the Washington Coalition’s meeting on October 27.

Dr. Tom Farr, former director of the Office of International Religious Freedom in the U.S. Department of State, was speaking on "Still Missing: Religion and American Foreign Policy" to the broad spectrum of representatives that make up the Washington Coalition for International Religious Freedom. "We still don't have this right," Farr observed, "for religion is still missing from statecraft. Religion is broadening and deepening around the world and we tend to ignore it."

Because of secularism and the idea that religion should be a private matter, policy makers often fail to recognize religion's impact on society and policy both domestically and internationally. Without understanding underlying religious beliefs it is impossible to understand the way individuals and societies function. As democratic ideas are promoted, it is important to reject the notion that "democracy means you have to check your religion at the door," Farr concluded.

Washington Coalition
Ambassador and Mrs Robert Seiple, Dr. John Graz, Dr. Tom Farr

Ambassador Robert Seiple, former U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, chaired the meeting and encouraged participants to "inject some oxygen into the religious freedom issue."

Hosting the meeting were Dr. John Graz, IRLA secretary general, and Attorney James Standish, IRLA's representative on Capitol Hill.

"We are always delighted to host such meetings as they bring a greater awareness to these issues and encourage initiatives that can really make a difference," says Graz.

"Religion informs and motivates much of what occurs in this world," adds Standish. "Therefore, failure to delve into the power and diversity of religious thought around the globe results in policies dangerously out of sync with reality on the ground."

The Washington Coalition for International Religious Freedom brings together over forty representatives from churches, organizations, and government departments. [IRLA News]