April 29th, 2011 | For more on this event, please visit: bit.ly/liycvq
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs | Georgetown University
Proselytism has emerged as an increasingly important international political issue. What is the relationship between religious freedom and the freedom to proselytize? In her presentation, Jean Bethke Elshtain argued that the two are inseparable. For religious pluralism to be robust, it must encompass not just religious diversity and interaction but also include efforts to knowingly and determinedly set out to change someone else’s mind about something basic to his or her identity and self-definition. We must acknowledge the power imbalances and mutual suspicions that often accompany efforts to win converts through transnational activity. But to restrict proselytism, through mandatory or self-imposed measures, is to restrict free speech. Nothing should compromise open dialogue within and across traditions in a spirit of truth.
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