Hair of the dog

It turns out that American foreign policy isn’t too religious, it’s not religious enough. So says the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

American foreign policy is handicapped by a narrow, ill-informed and “uncompromising Western secularism” that feeds religious extremism, threatens traditional cultures and fails to encourage religious groups that promote peace and human rights, according to a two-year study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The council’s 32-member task force, which included former government officials and scholars representing all major faiths, delivered its report to the White House on Tuesday. The report warns of a serious “capabilities gap” and recommends that President Obama make religion “an integral part of our foreign policy.”

Yeah great – then we can have the Christian nukes to go with the Islamic nukes and the Hindu nukes and the Jewish nukes. Coolerino.

“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.

Well yes, religion is ‘pivotal to the fate’ of all those nations because the leadership of those nations takes religion far too seriously. It’s not obvious that the best way to deal with that is to emulate it – or to listen to advice from people who equate secularism with fundamentalism.

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