By: Daniel Burke
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 6:54 am
(RNS) The State Department has a “rigidly narrow” view of diplomacy that neglects religion’s role in foreign affairs, a prominent Catholic ambassador charged on Sunday (April 17) as he announced his resignation.
Other foreign policy experts have another name for it: Religion Avoidance Syndrome.
And the departure of Douglas Kmiec as ambassador to Malta, they say, is symptomatic of a longstanding God gap in American foreign policy.
Kmiec, who helped shape an intellectual framework for President Obama’s outreach to Catholics during the 2008 campaign, was slammed in a recent State Department report for spending too much time writing about religion.
Kmiec’s focus on faith, “based on a belief that he was given a special mandate to promote President Obama’s interfaith initiatives ... detracted from his attention to core mission goals,” the State Department’s Inspector General wrote in a February report made public in early April.
Kmiec, a former lawyer in the Reagan administration and onetime dean of Catholic University’s law school, announced he would resign on Aug. 15, which he pointedly noted is the Feast of the Assumption.
The Catholic intellectual fiercely defended his work in separate letters to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton...