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Religious Liberty, Political Freedom, and Democracy

Leaders: Thomas Farr Timothy Shah

From 2014 to 2016, the Religious Freedom Project's Political Working Group focused on the impact of religious freedom on political freedom and democracy. Participating scholars were experts in areas of political science, sociology, law, diplomacy, and philosophy. Their analysis was both qualitative and quantitative, and covered political developments around the globe. The group examined the importance of religious freedom for reforming semi-authoritarian regimes; the relationship between the freedom to proselytize and democratization; religious freedom in the politics of Muslim-majority countries; and the role of religious freedom in geopolitical competitiveness. This project expanded on work conducted by RFP scholars from 2011 to 2014.

About RFP Working Groups

The Religious Freedom Project engaged major new questions not often broached in contemporary debates over the meaning and value of religious freedom. What is the relationship between religious freedom, other fundamental freedoms, and societal flourishing? What economic and political benefits accrue to societies that afford full and free expression to the religious impulses that are deeply embedded in the human experience? Can religious freedom contribute to the consolidation and longevity of democracy, to economic growth and reductions in poverty, or to the equality of women?

To address these questions with empirical data and rigorous scholarship the RFP commissioned some of the most outstanding scholars in America. The scholars comprised two working groups, and together they formed an interdisciplinary research team under Director Thomas Farr and Associate Director Timothy Shah.

Muslim Women Protesting in Pakistan

Project Leaders

Thomas Farr headshot

Thomas Farr

Religious Freedom Institute

Timothy Shah headshot

Timothy Shah

University of Dallas/Religious Freedom Institute


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Project Scholars

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