VIDEO: American Foreign Policy & International Religious Liberty

Editor’s Note: The comments below are adapted from Faith McDonnell’s video interview ahead of the inaugural issue of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. To attend the official Providence Launch Event on November 6, 2015, simply RSVP online.

Today I’m doing a special video because I want to tell you how excited I am about IRD’s new journal, Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. You may think, “Well, that doesn’t have a lot to do with the Religious Liberty Program, does it?” Let me tell you why I think Providence is so important to our Religious Liberty Program.

But first, I just want to say that as a very serious, academic-level journal, Providence isn’t required to be beautiful as well. However, I think that it is a beautiful journal. I love the aesthetics of this journal, as well as the articles and the information that it includes. We’re told in Scripture that we’re to love what is beautiful in addition to what is true and what is good. In Providence, these elements together make an impression and convey information.

I like the fact that the inaugural issue of the journal includes a quote from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers that really resonates with the content in the articles about Just War and foreign policy. The first issue also includes a section from T.S. Elliott’s Choruses from The Rock, Part 6. This is particularly important for our work on religious liberty, because this is what it says:

It is hard for those who have never known persecution,
And who have never known a Christian,
To believe these tales of Christian persecution.
It is hard for those who live near a Bank
To doubt the security of their money.
It is hard for those who live near a Police Station
To believe in the triumph of violence.
Do you think that the Faith has conquered the World
And that lions no longer need keepers?
Do you need to be told that whatever has been, can still be?
Do you need to be told that even such modest attainments
As you boast of in the way of polite society
Will hardly survive the Faith to which they owe their significance?

It goes on. I’ll let you read the rest yourself when you get a copy of Providence. But let me say this: it’s hard for those who’ve never known persecution to believe tales of Christian persecution. That’s something we’ve been working on at the Institute on Religion and Democracy for years, and I believe Providence is going to be a great asset in our work.

The first time that the issue of Christian persecution officially entered American foreign policy was in 1998 with the International Religious Freedom Act. This legislation also changed things by giving people tools to use when they were doing advocacy for persecuted Christians.

Unfortunately, those tools aren’t being implemented the way they need to be. So it’s a good time for a publication like Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy to once again remind Christians in America that they have a duty to their brothers and sisters around the world. Religious persecution should be part of American foreign policy, and only the churches in America can bring that about by changing the culture. We need to accept that the issue of Christian persecution – and religious persecution in general – must be an important part of American foreign policy once again.

So please take a look at Providence. Subscribe to it. If you happen to be in the Washington, D.C., area on Friday, November 6, come to the launch at the Newseum from 11am through 3pm. We look forward to seeing you there!

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