Freedom to Flourish: Can Religious Liberty Contribute to Justice, Human Dignity, and the Success of Societies Everywhere?October 9, 2013
May 31, 2013
May 30, 2013
February 12, 2013
January 7, 2013
December 14, 2012
Policy Consultation on Religious Freedom, Violent Religious Extremism, and Constitutional Reform in Muslim-Majority Countries: Lessons for U.S. Policy MakersDecember 7, 2012
October 24, 2012
Which Model, Whose Liberty?: Differences between the U.S. and European Approaches to Religious FreedomOctober 11, 2012
September 14, 2012
September 13, 2012
Religious Freedom and the HHS Mandate: a Conversation with Representatives Jeff Fortenberry, Diane Black, Ann Marie Buerkle and Dan LipinskiJune 28, 2012
May 14, 2012
May 1, 2012
April 10, 2012
March 22, 2012
March 16, 2012
March 1, 2012
February 13, 2012
February 10, 2012
January 31, 2012
December 4, 2011
November 17, 2011
October 20, 2011
September 23, 2011
May 3, 2011
April 28, 2011
PROJECT LEADERSThomas F. Farr is Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and a Visiting Associate...
Timothy Samuel Shah is Associate Director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center For Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and...
ASSOCIATE SCHOLARSJosé Casanova is one of the world's top scholars in the sociology of religion. He is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown...
Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago, where she also has...
William Inboden is Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Distinguished Scholar at the Strauss Center for International...
David Novak holds the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies as Professor of the Study of Religion and Professor of Philosophy at the...
Daniel Philpott is exploring Catholic and Protestant contributions to democracy from the years 1800-2000 for the Christianity and Freedom Project....
Mona Siddiqui is OBE is Professor of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies and Assistant Principal for Religion and Society at the University of...
Monica Duffy Toft is Associate Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Initiative on Religion in...
Roger Trigg, of St Cross College, Oxford, is Senior Research Fellow in the Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford, and a member of both the...
PROJECT STAFFA.J. Nolte joined the RFP at the beginning of October 2012, after two years as a research assistant at the Center for Complex Operations, National...
Kyle Vander Meulen joined the Berkley Center in January 2011. Before coming to the Center, he completed his master's studies in Divinity at the...
PROJECT NEWSJune 17, 2013
June 13, 2013
RFP Highlights Religious Freedom in the United States and Europe at National Religious Freedom ConferenceJune 6, 2013
June 3, 2013
May 29, 2013
May 25, 2013
May 25, 2013
May 21, 2013
May 21, 2013
May 20, 2013
May 20, 2013
May 20, 2013
Recent decades have seen an explosion of academic interest in the anthropological, philosophical, psychological, and biological basis of religious experience as a human universal. Scholars across the natural and social sciences have deepened their exploration of religion as it intersects with questions of individual and collective identity, ethics, and action. The project will institute a standing seminar series to bring leading scholars to present their findings and explore their implications for the idea of religious freedom. The seminars will generate an extended conversation among scholars from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and inform the core research carried out across the project's four other thematic areas.
An adequate understanding of the contemporary significance of religious freedom requires a grasp of its history and institutionalization over time. While the idea of religious freedom grows out of the Classical and Judeo-Christian traditions, it became a major social and political issue during and after the Reformation. Over the past two centuries, the idea of religious liberty has advanced against fierce opposition, both religious and secular, and has found diverse forms of political expression. Understanding the persistence of discrimination against and persecution of religious communities in the contemporary world -- and countering it effectively -- requires a deeper understanding of history. The project will bring together leading scholars to examine the evolution of the idea of religious liberty, its institutionalization, and contemporary relevance.
>> Religious Freedom in the Wake of the Arab Spring
While the role of religion can be strikingly different on both sides of the Atlantic, American and European societies face similar challenges to religious liberty. The U.S. model of high levels of religious practice, denominational competition, and non-establishment contrasts with European models of low religious participation and either state churches (as in the U.K.) or the state-state-enforced privatization of religion (as in France). Different historical legacies and religious and political constellations have shaped responses to trends including the growth of Islam and the emergence of same-sex marriage as a contested issue, with implications for the rights of both religious minorities and majorities. The project will address a thicket of controversial legal and ethical issues not adequately addressed on either side of the Atlantic.
Recent empirical research suggests a positive correlation between levels of religious freedom across countries and measures of economic, social, and political development. It appears that citizens' capacity to act on the basis of core beliefs has positive effects on civic and political life, including economic development and the onset and consolidation of democracy. Drawing on this research, the project will explore the conditions under which religious freedom serves other ends. What dimensions of religious freedom -- belief, practice, and political engagement -- have positive effects? When and how do they do so? The project will address these questions through ongoing research to be presented through events and publications.
Policy debates about how to combat religious extremism, terrorism, and violence have typically pitted supporters of military and police force against advocates of economic and social development. A vital policy tool -- the advancement of religious freedom -- has been neglected. This thematic area will explore the causal mechanisms linking religious freedom and violence. Is the suppression of religious freedom linked to religiously-motivated violence or terrorism? Do restrictions on religious liberty undermine moderates or reformers who might otherwise oppose extremism? Can the advancement of religious freedom catalyze the kinds of political theologies that support democratic governance and counter religious extremism and terrorism? The project will ask these and other questions of diverse societies around the world.
>> Religious Freedom and Religious Extremism in the Aftermath of 9/11
>> Religious Conflict and the Future of a Democratic Egypt
The Religious Freedom Project is undertaking a two-year research initiative to explore Christianity’s contributions to the construction and diffusion of freedom in its political, religious, and economic dimensions. Through groundbreaking research by an international team of scholars as well as through a cycle of public symposia and conferences, “Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives,” will examine ways in which Christian thinkers and communities have generated new concepts and practices of freedom in interaction with other religious traditions and secular ideas and institutions. Religious Freedom Project Associate Director and Scholar in Residence Timothy Shah is the Project Leader. Allen Hertzke, Presidential Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma, will Co-Chair the initiative’s distinguished Steering Committee alongside Timothy Shah.
The initiative is made possible through the generous support of the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs (RIHA) program administered by the Historical Society, with additional support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute.
>> On Christianity and Freedom