Religion in American Politics and Society: A Model for Other Countries?

Is the dominant American approach to religion, society, and the state worthy of emulation in other countries? The question is not only academic, but also has policy implications both for the American future and for U.S. efforts to promote religious freedom and democracy worldwide. It intersects with global controversies about international norms, national self-determination, proselytism, and the rights of religious communities. On March 1, 2011, Georgetown University brought together leading scholars and practitioners to discuss these issues. Three panels examined these questions from the perspective of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, respectively. Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver delivered a lunchtime keynote address. The symposium was sponsored by Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and made possible through the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation.
Text of Archbishop Chaput's Keynote Address


9:00 am: Welcome by Thomas F. Farr, Senior Fellow, The Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs

9:15-10:30 am: The Jewish Experience

Marshall J. Breger, Professor of Law at the Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America

Randi L. Rashkover, Assistant Professor, Religious Studies Department, George Mason University

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

10:45 am-noon: The Muslim Experience

Ed Husain, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, Founder and Chairman of the Cordoba Initiative

Asma Uddin, International Legal Fellow, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

12:15-1:15 pm: Lunch and Keynote Address by Archbishop Charles Chaput, Denver, Colorado

1:30-2:45 pm: The Christian Experience

Jerry Rankin, President Emeritus, International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention

Jim Wallis, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sojourners

John Witte, Jr., Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

The Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput is the current archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado. In 1968, he became a Brother in the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a branch of the Franciscans and was ordained a priest in 1970. In 1977, he became pastor of Holy Cross parish in Thornton, Colorado and appointed Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota in 1988. The same year he was consecrated bishop of that diocese. He is a member of the Board of Trustees at The Catholic University of America and served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom from 2003 to 2006. Chaput is the author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life (2008), in which he argues that Catholics should take a more active role in the political process and that private convictions cannot be separated from public actions without diminishing both. He believes that American democracy depends upon an engaged citizenry, including religious believers, to function properly.

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