Cromartie's Legacy on Faith and Politics
October 2, 2017
Christian scholar, writer, and activist Michael Cromartie died last month at his home in Arlington, Virginia. Cromartie—a self-described convert in the “evangelical, reformed, Anglican tradition”—tirelessly worked to increase religious literacy among journalists, opinion shapers, and civic leaders in American society. Among his many accomplishments, he founded the Faith Angle Forum, a popular retreat for journalists, writers, religious leaders, and scholars to explore and debate the pressing religious issues of the day.
Cromartie leaves a prolific legacy. Many journalists describe him as the “go-to source” for making sense of religion’s rising influence in the political mainstream, including evangelicals’ support for the Reagan and Trump presidencies. At the Berkley Center and other venues, Cromartie shared his knowledge of international religious freedom policy, modern trends in religion and spirituality, and the role of faith in global politics.
At the center's "God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics," he discussed how religion's influence has been propelled by modernization and democratization. At another Berkley Center event, "Liberty and Tolerance in an Age of Religious Conflict," Cromartie argued that excluding minority religious groups from the public sector undermines broader efforts for religious liberty and tolerance.
Cromartie also worked with several members of the Religious Freedom Project (2011-2016) team, including Thomas Farr, Timothy Shah, Brian Grim, and Allen Hertzke, to deepen public understanding of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, which mandated the promotion of religious liberty around the world as an element of U.S. foreign policy.
"Michael was not only a source of wisdom on all the issues at the nexus of religion and politics, he was also a friend of religious freedom wherever it was embattled," says Timothy Shah. "He was the warmest and most encouraging of friends to many of us personally as well as to the work of our project and center. His passing leaves a painful vacuum. We miss him."