Here is Dr. Farr’s explanation why we need more than a policy opposing anti-persecution, as important as that may be:

The problem is that American religious freedom diplomacy has embraced an anti-persecution approach to religious freedom that is largely rhetorical or, at its best, reactive. Sometime it devolves simply into case management, trying to get this or that victim out of harm’s way. US diplomacy has declined for a host of reasons to do the hard work of actually encouraging the development of legal and cultural institutions and habits that can yield true religious freedom. It has not, for example, made a concerted effort to convince the Afghan government that anti-blasphemy prosecutions are utterly incompatible with democratic stability. They stifle free religious expression and ensure that the voices of Muslim reformers are not heard.  In short, the United States cannot afford simply to react to cases of persecution; it must find ways to advance religious liberty.

Karol Wojtyla understood both the intrinsic connection and the important distinction between opposing persecution and advancing freedom. On the one hand, his experience of the Second World War and of communism led to a deep revulsion against religious persecution as a moral evil that affects both individuals and society, including the political order. At the same time, his life of deep spirituality, his personalist philosophy, and his vigorous intellectual engagement with other religions, all impelled him to articulate and to advocate what religious freedom is for. It is for the benefit of individual human beings, their societies and their political arrangements. American diplomacy has shown a distinct intellectual obstinacy on this score. It has refused to consider the proposition that to advance religious freedom is to liberate a host of fruitful social, economic and political possibilities, most of which would further the interests of the United States.


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