Rod Dreher

New study finds that American foreign policy is handicapped by a “God gap,” an inability of the U.S. foreign policy establishment to fully appreciate the role of religion in human affairs. Excerpt from the Washington Post report:

“It’s a hot topic,” said Chris Seiple, president of the Institute for Global Engagement in Arlington County and a Council on Foreign Relations member. “It’s the elephant in the room. You’re taught not to talk about religion and politics, but the bummer is that it’s at the nexus of national security. The truth is the academy has been run by secular fundamentalists for a long time, people who believe religion is not a legitimate component of realpolitik.”
The Chicago Council’s task force was led by R. Scott Appleby of the University of Notre Dame and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. “Religion,” the task force says, “is pivotal to the fate” of such nations as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Yemen, all vital to U.S. national and global security.
“Despite a world abuzz with religious fervor,” the task force says, “the U.S. government has been slow to respond effectively to situations where religion plays a global role.” Those include the growing influence of Pentecostalism in Latin America, evangelical Christianity in Africa and religious minorities in the Far East.

I can’t tell you how many times in journalism, an overwhelmingly secular profession, the role of religion in daily events is wrongly downplayed or even ignored, not out of hostility, necessarily, but by an unwillingness or inability to see what’s right in front of their faces. They don’t know people who are religious (or if they do, they’re religious in a way that makes perfect sense to a secular bourgeois), so they wrongly assume that their worldview is normative. You don’t have to be a religious believer to take it seriously when trying to understand the way the world works. This 2003 Public Interest essay by two poli sci professors at CUNY is the thing to read on the matter; Bolce & De Maio argue that secularism is a worldview every bit as potent as a religious worldview, but that the people who populate the heavily secularist leading institutions in American public life (e.g., journalism, on which their paper focuses) don’t grasp that fact, and misinterpret the world around them.

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