Religious Violence and American Foreign Policy


Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs


Religion and History


The U.S. promotes religious freedom internationally, believing it a necessary step toward reducing religious violence. The American approach has encountered difficulties, some of which arise from incomplete understandings of the ways in which religion is imbedded in culture. Additionally, well-meaning American diplomacy miscalculates the possibilities for the success abroad of an American ideology of religious freedom. That problem derives in part from American amnesia about religious violence in the national past. The national history of religious violence is obscured, screened from official memory even as it is remembered in minority communities that suffered violence. That forgetting has limited American capability to appreciate the complex dynamics of religious intolerance elsewhere. Religious Violence and American Foreign Policy will be published as an academic study and it will serve as the framework for a documentary about America, religion, and international affairs.