Does our foreign policy have a “God Gap”?

Now this is interesting:

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, according to a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

The council’s 32-member task force, which included former government officials and scholars representing all major faiths, delivered its report to the White House on Tuesday. The report warns of a serious “capabilities gap” and recommends that President Obama make religion “an integral part of our foreign policy”….

“It’s a hot topic,” said Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement in Arlington County and a Council on Foreign Relations member. “It’s the elephant in the room. You’re taught not to talk about religion and politics, but the bummer is that it’s at the nexus of national security. The truth is the academy has been run by secular fundamentalists for a long time, people who believe religion is not a legitimate component of realpolitik.”

I think Seiple puts his finger on the real issue here. The problem isn’t that our foreign policy has shut out religion, but that the religion we bring to the international square is Secularism. We can reach out to the world’s faithful all we want, but with what message? Secularism is, by its very nature, a theological/political opponent to religion. The international religious community knows that — they’re not being fooled.

So that’s the problem. Unfortunately, I haven’t had my morning coffee, so I have no solutions for you. Suggest your own or move along. I’m feeling crabby.

 

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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