State Department Identifies ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ on Religious Freedom

In 1998, the U.S. took an important step in promoting religious freedom as a foreign policy objective with the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRF Act). Designed to “strengthen United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted in foreign countries on account of religion,” the law authorized “actions in response to violations of religious freedom in foreign countries.” The act also requires that that Secretary of State identify “countries of particular concern,” a designation reserved for nation’s guilty of particularly severe violations of religious freedom. Continue Reading...

What Apple’s Encryption Fight Has to Do with Religious Freedom

The early church father Tertullian once asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” by which he meant “What has Greek thought and philosophy to do with Christianity and its Biblical heritage?” Today we might ask a similar question, “What has Apple to do with Hobby Lobby?” or “What does the conflict between Apple and the federal government over encryption have to do with Hobby Lobby’s struggle with the government over religious liberty?” The answer is: More than you might think. Continue Reading...

The Power of Prayer in a Time of Severe Persecution

As Americans face an increasing wave of pressure on religious liberty here at home, Christians around the world are enduring unprecedented levels of persecution. According to We Stand With Them, a new group focused on “standing with those who stand with Jesus,” 100 million Christians were targeted for their faith in 2015, including a 136% increase over the previous year in believers who were killed for their faith. Continue Reading...

Cultural Depictions of Communism and Christianity

As the author of a book titled The Roots of Coincidence, Arthur Koestler would appreciate the coinky dinks of the past week. First, I finished re-reading Koestler’s two nonfiction works of 20th century European madness, Dialogue with Death and Scum of the Earth. Continue Reading...

What Kuyper Can Teach Us About Trump and the ‘Third Temptation’

Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. recently stirred up a bit of hubbub over his endorsement of Donald Trump, praising the billionaire presidential candidate as a “servant leader” who “lives a life of helping others, as Jesus taught.” For many evangelicals, the disconnect behind such a statement is more than a bit palpable. Continue Reading...

Against Idolatrous Conservatism

Christians continually struggle to find the right approach, balance, and tone in their political witness, either co-opting the Gospel for the sake of political ends or retreating altogether out of fear of the same. Continue Reading...

10 Quotes for Religious Freedom Day

Thomas Jefferson wanted what he considered to be his three greatest achievements to be listed on his tombstone. The inscription, as he stipulated, reads “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia.” On Saturday we celebrate the 230th anniversary of one of those great creations: the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. Continue Reading...