A number of recent studies indicate that religious freedom improves economies, undermines religious-related terrorism, and promotes the long-term stability and civility of society, among other things. Regarding the first point, one recent article estimated the contribution of religion to the US economy to be $2.1 trillion per year. Sadly, though, there has been a dramatic downturn in these freedoms globally; and even in the United States – founded largely on such freedoms – we have seen an erosion of them. Since 84% of people worldwide follow a religion, and three-quarters of the world’s population – 5.1 billion people – live in countries with significant religious hostilities or restrictions, it’s important to consider this issue.
Today we’ll be examining the benefits of religious freedom and challenge our listeners to seriously consider supporting it. We’ll be talking about this with Tom Farr, the President of the Religious Freedom Institute. Tom also directs Georgetown University's Religious Freedom Research Project, and is an Associate Professor at Georgetown's Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service.