Evaluating the State Department's Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives
The newly-launched Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives at the State Department has been praised by many commentators as a much-needed mechanism for engaging religious leaders and organizations. Others, however, have raised constitutional concerns about the office's potential preferential treatment of favored religious groups and what constitutes "religious" in the first place.
A distinguished panel of Georgetown faculty explored how the new office can improve the formulation of sound and ethical foreign policy, the delivery of development assistance, and diplomatic engagement through its work with religious leaders and communities. They discussed the how the office might help foreign and civil services officers in their work. They also examined potential legal and political implementation challenges, and issues around engaging with certain groups or movements more than others.