Finding Faith in Foreign Policy: Religion and American Diplomacy in a Postsecular World, Oxford University Press, 2019

Finding Faith in Foreign Policy: Religion and American Diplomacy in a Postsecular World (Oxford University Press: 2019)

Since the end of the Cold War, religion has become an ever more explicit and systematic focus of US foreign policy across multiple domains. US foreign policymakers, for instance, have been increasingly tasked with monitoring religious freedom and promoting it globally, delivering humanitarian and development aid abroad by drawing on faith-based organizations, fighting global terrorism by seeking to reform Muslim societies and Islamic theologies, and advancing American interests and values more broadly worldwide by engaging with religious actors and dynamics. Simply put, religion has become a major subject and object of American foreign policy in ways that were unimaginable just a few decades ago.

In Finding Faith in Foreign Policy, Gregorio Bettiza explains the causes and consequences of this shift by developing an original theoretical framework and drawing upon extensive empirical research and interviews. He argues that American foreign policy and religious forces have become ever more inextricably entangled in an age witnessing a global resurgence of religion and the emergence of a postsecular world society. He further shows how the boundaries between faith and state have been redefined through processes of desecularization in the context of American foreign policy, leading the most powerful state in the international system to intervene and reshape in increasingly sustained ways sacred and secular landscapes around the globe.

Drawing from a rich evidentiary base spanning twenty-five years, Finding Faith in Foreign Policy details how a wave of religious enthusiasm has transformed not just American foreign policy, but the entire international system.


"Bettiza's Finding Faith in Foreign Policy is a much needed contribution to the much neglected studies of religion in world affairs. With theoretical creativity and careful historical analysis of recent American foreign policy, Bettiza analyzes how forces of secularization and desecularization combined, in a period of religious resurgence, to push American foreign policy elites to rethink its relationship to faith." -Michael Barnett, University Professor of International Affairs and Political Science, George Washington University

"Gregorio Bettiza's Finding Faith in Foreign Policy is the first systematic and comprehensive analysis of the religious policies of the United States : from the International Religious Freedom Act onward. It is a must for scholars and students of diplomacy and religion." -Jocelyne Cesari, Professor of religion and politics, University of Birmingham and Georgetown University

"With Finding Faith in Foreign Policy, Gregorio Bettiza provides the most systematic and theoretically rigorous analysis to date of the recent growing interest in religion within American diplomacy. By identifying an emerging sequence of 'religious regimes' within US foreign policy over the past two decades, he is able to highlight points of broad thematic continuity across Republican and Democratic administrations alike, even when they were divided by sharp political and operational discontinuities. Essential reading for anyone interested in the intersection of religion and contemporary diplomacy." -Peter Mandaville, Schar School of Policy & Government, George Mason University