ON-Lion Letter
Religious freedom is under sustained pressure today around the world.  In some places, it is fair to say that religious freedom is under siege.  Religious Freedom:  Why Now?  Defending an Embattled Human Right, by Georgetown University's Timothy Shah, is a response to that sobering fact.

Although scant attention is paid by governments, the academy, or the media, the implications of this crisis -- and Shah contends that it is a crisis -- are quite serious.  A worldwide erosion of religious freedom is causing large-scale human suffering, grave injustice, and significant threats to international peace and security.

Shah is an assistant visiting scholar at Georgetown, where he is also a scholar in residence at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supports the Berkley Center's Religious Freedom Project, of which Shah is associate director.  Shah wrote Religious Freedom:  Why Now? under the auspices of the Task Force on International Religious Freedom of The Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., which is also supported by Bradley.

Outside the West, according to the monograph, tens of millions of human beings are subject to violent persecution because of their religious beliefs, or those of their tormentors.  Scores of millions more are subject to serious restrictions on their religious freedom.  In the West itself, including the United States, religious freedom is also under various pressures. 

Where intellectual and political leaders treat religious freedom with skepticism or indifference, it is not surprising to find encroaching threats to the conscience rights and the public witness of religious persons, communities, and institutions -- and a failure to perceive the high importance of religious freedom in our relations with the rest of the world.  Religious Freedom:  Why Now? offers a robust consideration of religious freedom's present condition and the prospects for its future.
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