For a long time, I have believed that the U.S. government makes a mistake by not educating itself about religion in its dealing with foreign affairs. Finally, Madeleine Albright, as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, declared that this was a problem that federal U.S. government officials needed to fix. Then when your tenure finished, she wrote a book on this subject showing her seriousness about it. It is entitled The Mighty and Almighty: Reflections on America, God and World Affairs (2007). Soon afterwards, I heard her speak about her book when I attended the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature.
The reason for this lack in our federal government has been an extremist view that has prevailed in our nation concerning its principle of the separation of church and state. Liberal media, academics, and organizations have been somewhat responsible for this. It has been a longstanding issue in which people have not known where the separation line should be drawn. It has even affected our public education, in which teachers often have not known if they can teach students anything about the history of Christianity, Jesus, or the church.
Thursday, I attended a lecture at the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict at Arizona State University, as I sometimes do. The lecturer was Mr. Shaun Casey, Special Representative of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs in the our nation’s State Department. Three years ago, Secretary of State John Kerry followed Ms. Albright’s advise and established this office. So, Mr. Casey is the main person who advises Secretary Kerry on religion as it affects foreign affairs. This is a much needed political entity in our federal government.I met Mr. Casey afterwards and asked him if he was “familiar with The Fellowship” that is headquartered there in Washington, D.C. It is the main Christian (although they don’t use that word) organization that has ministered to members of Congress since the 1950s. One of its main ministries has been establishing a prayer breakfast ministry around the country. Thus, The Fellowship is most known for hosting the Presidential Prayer Breakfast during early February each year, in which about 3,500 government leaders and other dignitaries from around the world attend as well the U.S. president.
The reason I asked Mr. Casey this is that The Fellowship had a profound impact of the creation and existence of the PGA Tour Bible Study which I co-founded with my close friend and Tour player Babe Hiskey. Mr. Casey certainly did know of The Fellowship, and we talked briefly about it. But I’ll reserve any further divulgence of our conversation for perhaps a later time.