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Boundless FaithThe Global Outreach of American Churches$
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Robert Wuthnow

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780520259157

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520259157.001.0001

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Faith and Foreign Policy

Faith and Foreign Policy

Does Religious Advocacy Matter?

(p.188) Chapter 6 Faith and Foreign Policy
Boundless Faith

Robert Wuthnow

University of California Press

This chapter examines the role of Christianity in U.S. policies toward current international issues. It comprises an argument that has five parts. First, it shows that there are at least four reasons to believe that Christian groups have exercised increasing influence on U.S. foreign policies in recent years. Second, it argues that there are also good reasons to question each of these views. The third part outlines an argument suggesting that policy makers and religious leaders do, on occasion, have reason to give an appearance of listening to one another. The fourth part examines the evidence in four specific policy arenas—free trade, human rights, militarism, and foreign assistance—and shows that any tangible influence on governmental policy by the Christian community has been quite limited, though not insignificant. Finally, it mentions the role of American Christianity in foreign affairs that is largely nongovernmental but where there are particular circumstances under which this role directly influences public policy.

Keywords:   Christianity, international issues, religious leaders, policy makers, human rights

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