What is the politics of religious freedom? For the past decade and more, those who would like to see the active promotion of religious freedom at the “core” of foreign policy in the U.S. and now in Canada would have us understand that religious freedom is the foundation of democracy, the basis for political stability and first step to all other freedoms. The mission statement of the Office of International Religious Freedom in the U.S. Department of State links its promotion of religious freedom to human rights and to political “stability” for “all countries.” Referring to the establishment of a new Office of Religious Freedom within his government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in a statement to the United Nations last year, the Canadian UN Ambassador declared, “History has shown us that where religious freedom is strong, democratic freedom is strong.”Read the rest of The problem of translation: A view from India.
Cassie Adcock is assistant professor of South Asian studies and religious studies in the Department of History at Washington University in St. Louis. Her work explores issues of secularism, religion, and political culture in modern Indian history, as does her current book project, The Limits of Tolerance: Indian secularism and the politics of religious freedom.