Although there are some reasons to be careful about how this is done, it's also true that it's way past time for our government's diplomats to be studying, learning from and working in deeper collaboration with religious leaders around the world, given what an important role religion plays in the lives of billions of people.
In the past, the State Department's primary engagement with religion has been its annual report on the ways various countries are limiting religious liberty. That's an important thing to highlight, which is why both State and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom both keep track of religious repression.
But instead of just a focus on what's wrong, it's time to engage religious leaders in a positive way.
In response to this news from State, the Social Science Research Council, through its "The Imminent Frame" initiative, has published lots of responses from people who understand the issue. You can find those here. They're worth a read.
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A PAPAL MESSAGE FOR MUSLIMS
Pope Francis is trying to create better relations between Christianity and Islam and, in that effort, has signed a personal end-of-Ramadan note to Muslims. The two faiths almost certainly will never agree on matters of theology, but that doesn't mean each can't respect the other.