Tom Farr on Religious Freedom

Dr Thomas Farr, in his Georgetown office

On Thursday Dr Thomas Farr of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown will speak on John Paul the Great, Religious freedom and American foreign policy. Tom worked for the State Department for many years and he taught at the United States Air Force Academy where I met him in 1998.
Here is an excerpt from his writing:

The Catholic Church’s Declaration on Religious Freedom can help American foreign policy out of its self-defeating privatization premise. There are at least two areas where the principles established in Dignitatis Humanae would repay study by the foreign affairs establishment. The first is the Declaration’s portrayal of the natural religious dimension of the human person, a dimension that is intimately tied to human flourishing and requires protection in the civil order precisely for that reason, and not because it is one among many private human choices. If Dignitatis Humanae is correct about human nature, it provides reasonable grounds for abandoning the thin privatization approach to religious liberty. If its arguments are compelling, it gives American foreign policy good reasons for integrating religion into its assumptions about human behavior and how to influence it. If the drive to discover religious truth is as universal and influential as the drive to political power and economic gain, then no one can rationally ignore its implications for political order. Religious freedom would then necessarily take its place as a key factor in any strategy to facilitate democratic institutions, and to tie the religious impulses of men to public purposes in a democratic society. The Review of Faith & International Affairs

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