Georgetown University Scholar Will Lecture about Many American Christians' Indifference to Persecution of Christians in Other Parts of the World

Sept. 23, 2013

Follow us on Twitter:@BaylorUMediaCom

Contact: Terry Goodrich,(254) 710-3321

WACO, Texas (Sept. 23, 2013) -- Many American Christians are heedless or unconcerned about other Christians in Syria, Egypt and elsewhere who are facing growing violent persecution, says Georgetown University scholar Thomas F. Farr, Ph.D.

Farr will lecture at Kayser Auditorium in the Hankamer School of Business at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 30, on "A Charge to Keep: Christian Responsibility Amid a Global Crisis in Religious Freedom."

While Christians no longer attack other Christians as they did in the Middle Ages, Western governments, including that of the United States, are doing little or nothing to stop the emerging crisis.

Farr will contest the view of the great theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar, who in 1952 expressed confidence that Christian indifference to the suffering of fellow believers was a thing of the distant past:

"What a Christian of [the Middle Ages] could justify cannot be accepted today; otherwise, he would reveal himself to be an utter un-Christian. For in the meantime something new has been displayed among us. The medieval castle where people danced . . . above the . . . torture chambers has collapsed and will not be reconstructed . . . [N]o Christian today will be able to dance any longer, while one of his brothers suffers torture."

In his address to the Baylor community, Farr will take on the underlying causes of US foreign policy failures, including the decline of America's "first freedom." He will discuss Christian responsibility in an age of growing hostility toward religion in general and Christianity in particular, arguing that what Christians do, and what they fail to do, at this moment in history will have enormous consequences for America's domestic well-being, its national security and international peace.

Thomas F. Farr is Visiting Associate Professor of Religion and International Affairs at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He directs the Religious Freedom Project and the Program on Religion and US Foreign Policy at Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, where he is a senior fellow. He is also a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

A graduate of Mercer University, with a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina, Farr has served in the U.S. Army and the American Foreign Service. As an Army officer he taught history at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point and served as Adjutant General of the Army's Transportation Command in Europe.

Early in his Foreign Service career, Farr specialized in strategic military policy and political affairs. During the Cold War, he helped develop U.S. strategic nuclear policy and was part of the U.S. negotiating team in the U.S.-Soviet arms control talks in Geneva. He also taught international relations at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Farr is a contributing editor for the Review of Faith and International Affairs and has published widely on religious freedom and its implications.

Kayser Auditorium is in the Cashion Building of the Hankamer School of Business, 1400 S. Fourth St.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


Launched in August 2004, the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) exists to initiate, support and conduct research on religion, involving scholars and projects spanning the intellectual spectrum: history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, political science, epidemiology, theology and religious studies. The institute's mandate extends to all religions, everywhere, and throughout history, and embraces the study of religious effects on prosocial behavior, family life, population health, economic development and social conflict. While always striving for appropriate scientific objectivity, ISR scholars treat religion with the respect that sacred matters require and deserve.

Looking for more news from Baylor University?