From 2011 to 2016, the Religious Freedom Project (RFP) engaged major questions not often broached in contemporary debates over the meaning and value of religious freedom. The RFP commissioned some of America's leading scholars to study religious freedom's relationship to social flourishing, violent extremism, women's equality, and other themes, both in historical and contemporary contexts. Learn more about our past research themes below.
In 2012 and 2013 the Religious Freedom Project undertook a two-year research initiative to explore Christianity’s contributions to the construction and diffusion of freedom in its political, religious, and economic dimensions. Through groundbreaking research by an international team of scholars as well as through a cycle of public symposia and conferences, “Christianity and Freedom: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives” examined ways in which Christian thinkers and communities have generated new concepts and practices of freedom in interaction with other religious traditions and secular ideas and institutions. Religious Freedom Project Associate Director and Scholar in Residence Timothy Shah was the project leader. Allen Hertzke, Presidential Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma, co-chaired the initiative’s distinguished Steering Committee alongside Timothy Shah.
The initiative was made possible through the generous support of the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs (RIHA) program administered by the Historical Society, with additional support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Witherspoon Institute. In 2014, the RFP and the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights launched a follow-on project to Christianity and Freedom called Under Caesar's Sword, which focuses on the persecution of Christian communities around the world. Research for Under Caesar's Sword is now being carried out under the Religious Freedom Research Project.