Religious Freedom Past and Future

The Religious Freedom Project hosted a discussion of two books which chronicle the history of religion’s role in American foreign policy and speculate about future threats to religious liberty. The morning session addressed Sword of the Spirit Shield of Faith, Andrew Preston’s sweeping history of religion’s role in U.S. foreign policy. From colonial times through the Reagan Administration and beyond, Preston (Cambridge University) makes the case that religion’s role in shaping American foreign policy has been both pivotal and under-appreciated. Sword of the Spirit Shield of Faith is Preston’s attempt to fill this critical gap in the diplomatic history of the United States.

The afternoon session addressed Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Gerard Bradley (Notre Dame). This collection of essays from top scholars and practitioners in the field of religious liberty addresses the wide variety of domestic and international threats to this integral freedom, ranging from blasphemy laws in Pakistan to contending interpretations of the First Amendment in the United States. Essayists discussed the origins and possible means of countering this wide variety of threats, as well as the enduring importance of religious freedom in our young century.


Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith | Scott Flipse, Will Inboden, Andrew Preston

Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century | Gerard Bradley, Jose Casanova, Robin Wilson

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