Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Religious Studies

Major Professor

Michael Dejonge, Ph.D

Committee Member

Danny L. Jorgensen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Cavendish, Ph.D.


foreign policy, humanistic, religious pluralism, theoretical frameworks


In August of 2013 the U.S. State Department launched the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives with the objective to foster and promote religious engagements in foreign diplomacy. The language used by the architects and proponents of the initiative suggests that even though religion can be a source of great conflict, religion is also a powerful force for good capable of mitigating conflict and fostering progress. The present optimistic belief of American foreign diplomats that religious engagement will foster beneficial partnerships capable of advancing U.S. foreign interests has led scholars to pose the question, "what will the U.S. engage when it engages religion?" This thesis argues that the language used in the promotion of faith-based initiatives exhibits a commitment to a humanistic theology of religious pluralism. Further, this thesis explains that a humanistic theology of religious pluralism limits religious engagement. In other words, the OFBCI will engage with religious groups only in so far as they fit their definition of religion.