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Council on Foreign Relations Religion and Foreign Policy Bulletin
April 2012

Spotlight on Religious Scholars: Chris Seiple

Chris Seiple is president of the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE), a research, education, and diplomatic institution that builds sustainable religious freedom worldwide through local partnerships. He is an adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Federal Advisory Committee's Religion and Foreign Policy working group, and founder of The Review of Faith and International Affairs. Read more about Dr. Seiple's background and IGE.

Why Iran's Mullahs Cannot Rest Easy

Beneath the facade of order and stability, Iran's clerical state faces a deep crisis of legitimacy, says CFR's Ray Takeyh. His article catalogues the decades of political revolt and dissent that have challenged the Islamic Republic, and ultimately argues that the Green Movement represents a compilation of all the previous political coalitions that have sought to liberalize Iran.

Takeyh believes that if the Green Movement cannot revive itself, other social movements waiting in the wings will eventually emerge to challenge the clerical state. But for now, in Iran, "the mixture of strident nationalism and Islamism that has guided its foreign policy for the past three decades remains intact."


The Politics of Evangelicalism

Institute for Global Engagement President Chris Seiple responds to David Campbell and Robert Putnam's Foreign Affairs essay "God and Caesar in America," by offering evidence of a large and devout evangelical youth that are not, as Campbell and Putnam claim, abandoning the pews. He argues that this religious sector prefers to be defined by the values they support rather than the values they oppose. For Seiple, this demographic, which abstains from political labels, is becoming increasingly aware and committed to foreign policy issues, and seeks "a faith applied, not a religion petrified."

Read Dr. Seiple's rebuttal in Foreign Affairs, "The Politics of Evangelicalism: How Washington is Leaving the Faithful Behind." Listen to Robert Putnam on the current relationship between religion and politics in America.

Religion As a Foreign Policy Force

CFR's Campaign 2012 blog looks at how religion and faith are becoming hot topics on the presidential campaign trail. Questions on religion are no longer limited to the quizzing of candidates on their beliefs, but now include hard hitting inquiries into how each candidates' views on religion and religious freedom will shape his policy overseas.
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Blog Highlight: From the Potomac to the Euphrates

Follow CFR's Steven Cook as he blogs about how developments in the Middle East reverberate in Washington. Among other issues, Cook looks at civil-military relations in Turkey, the unrest in Syria, the struggle between Israel and Palestine, and the elections in Egypt. In an April 17 post, "Islamic Law and Justice for All?," Cook invites Egyptian-born Nervana Mahmoud to debate the viability of a Sharia-based constitution in Egypt. Follow the Blog »