TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

State Department starts religious outreach

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Washington Post
Saturday, July 27, 2013, 8:30 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Antarctica yields life in extremest of conditions, so what about on another planet?
  2. Shiia militias in Iraq say they have assurances U.S. will stop strikes
  3. Co-pilot in Germanwings Alps crash treated for suicidal tendencies
  4. Iran blames U.S. drone for killing military advisers in Iraq
  5. Airstrike hits aid camp for displaced in Yemen, kills dozens
  6. ‘Substantial’ roadblocks remain as nuclear talks with Iran go down to wire
  7. Leaders wary of vote-rigging in Nigeria
  8. Nigerians vote despite violence, technical hitches
  9. Islamic State extremists sell looted antiquities, destroy monumental statues in Iraq
  10. Iran poses top threat to Mideast stability, Israeli consul general says
  11. Yemen urges Arab neighbors to help fight rebels