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Thomas Farr

Thomas Farr
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Thomas F. Farr is director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a visiting associate professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. A former American diplomat and leading authority on international religious freedom, Farr has published widely, including "Diplomacy in an Age of Faith" in Foreign Affairs (March/April 2008), and World of Faith and Freedom: Why International Religious Liberty is Vital to American National Security (Oxford University Press, 2008). Farr received his B.A. in history from Mercer University, and his Ph.D. in modern British and European history from the University of North Carolina.

Faith and Foreign Policy

Professor Thomas F. Farr authors the "Faith and Foreign Policy" blog at Georgetown/On Faith, a Berkley Center collaboration with the Washington Post/Newsweek site "On Faith." His contributions to other blogs, such as "The Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good," an online publication of the Witherspoon Institute, can also be found here.

June 13, 2013
Thomas Farr, director of the Religious Freedom Project, presented testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security. Watch his testimony beginning at minute 22.

>>Written testimony

September 23, 2011
This blog post originally appeared in The Public Discourse, an online publication arm of the Witherspoon Institute.

What if Osama Bin Laden had been raised in a Saudi Arabia that allowed for religious freedom? What if, instead of being steeped exclusively in the toxic teachings of Wahhabism and Sayyid Qutb, he had been exposed to other forms of Islam, to critics of Islam, to other forms of religious belief, and to liberal religion-based arguments about justice and the common good?

September 24, 2010
In the second installment of a blog post in The Public Discourse, Thomas Farr argues that we must oppose violent extremists in part by promoting freedom of religion, both at home and abroad. Part one is available here.

September 22, 2010
This blog post originally appeared in The Public Discourse, an online blog arm of the Witherspoon Institute, on September 22, 2010. The second installment of this blog post is available here.

June 7, 2010
In a previous post, I voiced the fear that the Obama administration was placing U.S. international religious freedom (IRF) policy on the back burner, subordinating it to other less compelling administration priorities, or clearing the deck for initiatives that might be complicated by a robust defense of religious liberty abroad (such as outreach to Muslim majority countries or promoting international gay rights).

May 6, 2010
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (IRF) has come down hard on the Obama administration for its failure to promote international religious liberty. "U.S. foreign policy on religious freedom," said Commission chairman Leonard Leo, "is missing the mark."

March 30, 2010
On March 30 a diverse group of scholars, policy thinkers, and religious freedom activists told President Obama that his administration was missing an enormous opportunity -- for the nation and the world -- by failing to advance international religious freedom in American foreign policy.

March 9, 2010
President Obama has on several occasions articulated his commitment to international religious freedom. Unfortunately, his State Department appears to be on a course that will seriously downgrade the nation's international religious freedom policy.

March 1, 2010
Do religious individuals and groups possess a right to share their beliefs with others in the hope that those beliefs will be embraced? For many, including most Muslims and Christians, religion represents an objective and universal Truth, one that comprehends the temporal good and the eternal destiny of all persons. For those who believe they have access to such a Truth, the desire to offer it to others is both natural and rational. After all, if the claims of Islam are true, should we not all want to be Muslim? If the claims of Christianity are true, should we not all seek to become Christian?

January 18, 2010
Religious leaders lead the faithful. But what do they have to say to others? Not much in a world where religion is a private matter and politics is secular.

September 3, 2009
This blog post originally appeared in the American Principles Project blog on September 3, 2009.

Despite Barak Obama's conspicuous references to religious freedom in his Cairo speech and during the U.S.-China strategic talks, the President has not yet announced a nominee for the post of Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom (IRF), a position established by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.