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World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty Is Vital to American National Security Hardcover – November 7, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 worshipping 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.)
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Review


"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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195179951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195179958
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Lucid and interesting at times, Farr presents a very good insider's account behind the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act and the struggles that the agency created by the act encountered during its first couple of years of existence, even after the 9/11 attacks. Religion is quite a neglected aspect of US foreign policy indeed and Farr's book is a welcome addition to the literature. The reason I give 4/5 stars is that the pace sometimes drags at certain points in the book, for instance, when dealing with case studies involving China and Saudi Arabia. Also, there is no good concluding chapter. But aside from those, this is a good read and interesting for its arguments.
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much food for thought
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