State Department starts religious outreach
WASHINGTON — The State Department announced last week the first office dedicated to outreach to the global faith community and religious leaders.
The project, born in part of recommendations by its working group on religion and foreign policy, will be headed by Shaun Casey, a United Methodist member and professor at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.
Casey, an activist and scholar, said he expects the office to focus on three areas: religion and development, international religious freedom, and conflict prevention and resolution.
“I'm not naive,” Casey said. “I understand that this territory is fraught. But having said that, I think we ignore the political impact of religion at our peril.”
Secretary of State John Kerry called Casey, who has served for many years as an adviser to the former senator from Massachusetts, the “perfect” person for the role.
The State Department said the new office “will focus on engagement with faith-based organizations and religious institutions around the world to strengthen U.S. development and diplomacy and advance America's interests and values.”
Melissa Rogers, the new director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, said in a statement: “Shaun's appointment is part of a larger State Department strategy.”
For years, religious activists have called on the State Department to deepen its relationships with and understanding of religious people and leaders around the world. Douglas Johnston, president of the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy, said that because “85 percent of the world's population derives their reason for being from religion,” an increasingly globalized world demands an American foreign policy that includes faith in its toolbox.
“It's all about trying to make religion part of the solution to some of these intractable identity-based conflicts,” Johnston said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- French investigators confirm airplane wing part is from Flight 370
- Migrant-laden train makes unexpected stop
- Ayatollah: Iran won’t settle for ‘suspension’
- Guatemalan congress swears in new president
- Al-Jazeera English journalists head to prison in Egypt
- 2 U.S. troops slain in attack on military base; Taliban takes district
- Nazi ‘gold train’ evidence mounts
- ‘Super giant’ natural gas field found off Egypt in Mediterranean Sea
- Egypt, sans parliament for more than 3 years, sets elections
- British Columbia windstorm knocks out electricity
- Hungary bars migrants from trains, raising fears they’ll turn to smugglers