By Gregorio Bettiza

Since the end of the Cold War, religion has increasingly been operationalized across a range of American foreign policy domains, including attempts to advance religious freedom internationally, deliver humanitarian and development aid through faith-based organizations, fight global terrorism by reforming the Muslim world and Islamic theologies, and engage with religious actors to solve global crises. Much of this activity has emerged thanks to the advocacy efforts of a wide range of actors, many religiously based. As I show in my recent book Finding Faith in Foreign Policy, these actors have come forward since the 1990s to suggest that American foreign policy suffered from a problematic secular bias, which overlooked and under-appreciated the role of faith in world politics. One of the most striking shifts occurring in the process has been the replacement of America’s bemoaned secular “blind spot” with a Christian “soft spot.” This has been especially notable in the policy area of international religious freedom (IRF)…


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