Thursday, July 7, 2016

Su on the Export of Religious Liberty

Earlier this year, Anna Su, University of Toronto, published Exporting Freedom: Religious Liberty and American Power (Harvard University Press). From the publisher: 
Cover: Exporting Freedom in HARDCOVERReligious freedom is widely recognized today as a basic human right, guaranteed by nearly all national constitutions. Exporting Freedom charts the rise of religious freedom as an ideal firmly enshrined in international law and shows how America’s promotion of the cause of individuals worldwide to freely practice their faith advanced its ascent as a global power. 
Anna Su traces America’s exportation of religious freedom in various laws and policies enacted over the course of the twentieth century, in diverse locations and under a variety of historical circumstances. Influenced by growing religious tolerance at home and inspired by a belief in the United States’ obligation to protect the persecuted beyond its borders, American officials drafted constitutions as part of military occupations—in the Philippines after the Spanish–American War, in Japan following World War II, and in Iraq after 2003. They also spearheaded efforts to reform the international legal order by pursuing Wilsonian principles in the League of Nations, drafting the United Nations Charter, and signing the Helsinki Accords during the Cold War. The fruits of these labors are evident in the religious freedom provisions in international legal instruments, regional human rights conventions, and national constitutions. 
In examining the evolution of religious freedom from an expression of the civilizing impulse to the democratization of states and, finally, through the promotion of human rights, Su offers a new understanding of the significance of religion in international relations.

Some blurbs: 
Exporting Freedom makes a valuable and important contribution both to the scholarship and to a pressing, ongoing public conversation about the appropriate role of the United States in securing and protecting religious liberty abroad. The book usefully contextualizes the development of human-rights law and policy dealing with religious liberty and, in so doing, helps to refute—or at least to complicate—the view that American policymakers’ solicitude for religious liberty abroad is, and always has been, cynical or disingenuous.” -Richard W. Garnett 
Exporting Freedom draws attention to a significant but under-examined topic: religious liberty in U.S. foreign policy. This fascinating book will add to our understanding of both religion in international relations and the history of America in the world.”-Andrew Preston

We noted this book forum on Exporting Freedom earlier. Full information on the book is available here.