Templeton Foundation donates $2 million to Berkley Center

Last week, the University announced the creation of a “religious freedom project” within the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs.

The project, which was funded by a $2 million grant from the Templeton Foundation, will be led by Thomas Farr, a senior fellow in the Berkley Center. Timothy Samuel Shah, a visiting government professor, will serve as associate director of the three-year project.

“At a moment when religious freedom is under siege around the world, the Religious Freedom Project will mobilize scholars, promote teaching, support policymakers, and inform a wider public about the value of religious liberty,” Farr said.

According to Farr, the project’s chief goal will be to explore the relationship between religious freedom, democracy, and extremism.

While University President John DeGioia added that the partnership with the Templeton Foundation will “[allow] Georgetown to engage an exciting intellectual area with critical implications for today’s world,” the foundation has come under fire in the past for allegedly blurring the line between science and religion. In 1998, Slate writer David Plotz revealed how the foundation’s namesake, John Templeton, “almost singlehandedly revived the field of religious science” by awarding money to colleges that agreed to offer courses about science and religion.

The Berkley Center’s religious freedom program will sponsor “a series of events, publications, courses and policy consultations to generate and disseminate knowledge about religious freedom among scholars, policy experts, educators and the wider public.”

h/t, photo: Georgetown University News

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