Religious Freedom: A Conversation with Rick Warren, Robert P. George, and John DiIulio

February 12, 2013

On February 12, 2013, at Georgetown University’s historic Riggs library, the Religious Freedom Project convened two of the nation’s foremost public figures for an extraordinary conversation. In one chair sat “America’s pastor,” the Reverend Rick Warren of California’s Saddleback Church. In the other sat one of the country’s foremost Catholic lay intellectuals, Robert P. George, Princeton University’s McCormick professor of jurisprudence. The conversation was moderated by Professor John DiIulio, Frederic Fox Leadership professor of politics, religion, and civil society at the University of Pennsylvania. This report is an edited transcript of that conversation.
Their discussion explored two primary topics. First, what exactly is religious freedom and why is it important for everyone--religious or not? Second, in light of the global crisis in religious freedom, how can US foreign policy engage the problem with greater success? While Pastor Warren and Professor George did not agree on all things, both described religious freedom as essential to humanity and productive of substantive social, economic, and political benefits. Each voiced concerns about the ineffectiveness of US foreign policy. Finally, each expressed the fear that the United States itself is losing its moorings when it comes to religious freedom—a right once widely believed to be the “first freedom” of America, and the patrimony of all people everywhere.

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