...organized spirituality appeals for balance from what it terms a secular government.
"Despite a world abuzz with religious fervor," the task force says, "the U.S. government has been slow to respond effectively to situations where religion plays a global role." Those include the growing influence of Pentecostalism in Latin America, evangelical Christianity in Africa and religious minorities in the Far East.
U.S. officials have made efforts to address the God gap, especially in dealings with Islamic nations and groups. The CIA established an office of political Islam in the mid-1980s. Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998 to make religious freedom a U.S. foreign policy priority. During the second Bush administration, the Defense Department rewrote the Army's counterinsurgency manual to take account of cultural factors, including religion.
The Obama administration has stepped up the government's outreach to a wider range of religious groups and individuals overseas, trying to connect with people beyond governments, said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The effort, he said, is more deliberate than in the past: "This issue has senior-level attention."