Canada's Premier Hub For Faith In Common Life

Robert Joustra

Robert Joustra (Ph.D., University of Bath) teaches politics & international studies at Redeemer University College, where he is also Director of the Centre for Christian Scholarship. He is the author and editor of several books, most recently The Religious Problem with Religious Freedom: Why Foreign Policy Needs Political Theology (Routledge, 2017). He is a Fellow with the Center for Public Justice and an Editorial Fellow with The Review of Faith & International Affairs.

Bio last modified June 1st, 2017.
Articles by Robert Joustra
  • On the Table

    Naomi Biesheuvel with Robert Joustra, Dan Postma, Ray Pennings

    We're renovating these pages in 2015 to open them up to you, our readers. Each month, we'll send out a question via our weekly emails, Twitter account (@conviviumproj) and our Facebook page ( The next step is up to you: we want to hear your opinions about the topics we're discussing in these pages.

  • Foreign policy makers: Suit up?

    Robert Joustra

    Last November, a "leaked copy" of a briefing paper on the new foreign policy strategy made its way into the media, detailing the already understood shift to closer economic ties "even where political interests or values may not align." The overwhelming message of that document, and of this government, has been the trinitarian invocation of trade, growth, jobs.

  • Missing Nigeria to Rehash Quebec

    Robert Joustra

    This is good gut-level integrity talk, and it's entirely wrong. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Democracies' Anxious Youth

    Robert Joustra

    If we're cynical, we come by it honestly. Look no further than Japan, long the darling of demographic apocalypse. The country, according to Foreign Affairs, is headlining the cost of "letting the elderly rule politics." Between 1985 and today, writes Alexandra Harney, "the percentage of the Japanese population over 65 rose from a tenth to nearly a quarter.

  • Reasonable Accommodation in Reverse

    Robert Joustra

    It is time, therefore, for religious communities to take a hard look at reasonable accommodation in reverse: not just as a "rights" flag to wave from our foxholes, but as a productive push for social and cultural conversation, and accommodation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Gaming Out the Ambiguous Morality of Apocalypse

    Robert Joustra

    Gaming is not a bad way to think about the renaissance in geek culture. Gaming, or game theory, is fundamental to a whole range of forecasting. From domestic to international politics, to pop culture and cult sensations, gaming is at the heart of some of our favourite past times. NBC's Revolution is one big game theory experiment: if all the power shut off, how would people respond? Or AMC's The Walking Dead: what are the social and moral dynamics of post-apocalyptic survivors? Right down, of course, to Max Brooks' unsurpassed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, great if only because of its use of actual, rather than caricatured, foreign policy paradigms.

  • All Hail the Twitterati

    Robert Joustra

    But is it true, like Alexis Wichowski has argued, that social media is now so central to good governance, to political and social life, that "to ignore or disdain it would amount to professional malpractice?"

  • Here Come the Wonksters

    Robert Joustra

    "The harsh events of the past decade may have produced not a youth revolt but a reversion to an empiricist mind-set," says David Brooks. He calls it a tendency to think in demoralized economic phrases like "data analysis," "opportunity costs" and "replicability," and a tendency to dismiss other more ethical and idealistic vocabularies that seem fuzzy and, therefore, unreliable.

  • I, for one, Welcome our new Ambassador of Religious Freedom

    Robert Joustra

    The politics of this new post are prickly. Liberal leader Bob Rae has gone out of his way in the recent Crossroads controversy, stirred up by the Canadian press, to accept and support the work of faith based organizations and religious freedom abroad. But in a speech not long before, the New Democrat's Thomas Mulcair decried "religion, not nutrition" in this government's foreign policy.

  • Are Missionaries the Henchmen of Empire?

    Robert Joustra

    In some sense, says Andrew Preston, it is. There were missionaries who were hardcore imperialists. But based on his research, and primary historical accounts, he argues that these missionaries were actually the exception, not the rule. He says, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • The Peril of Christian Humanitarianism

    Robert Joustra

    In many ways, it is neither wrong nor entirely mystifying why one religious group would draw attention to the abuses or suffering of their co-religionists. Christian groups draw attention to the suffering of other Christians in part because they are often more naturally familiar with these groups, as a result of global networks, but also because there is an implicit self-identification with the victimized.

  • Pressing Upon the Imagination of the Cynical

    Robert Joustra

    — Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) December 30, 2012 Canadians had their own guardian angel this holiday season in the person of Commander Chris Hadfield. Hadfield, currently living in space aboard the international space station, is Commander of Expedition 35. In an inspiring feat of globalization, Hadfield, NASA's Tom Marshburn and Russia's Roman Romanenko's blasted into space in a Soyuz spacecraft on December 19 from Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

  • Bring on that Foreign Policy Review

    Robert Joustra

    But if this renewed emphasis on partnerships is going to be carried out effectively, the typically closed-door conversations of the government are going to have to go public. You can't talk about public-private partnerships without inviting public-private dialogue. Something like a coherent picture needs to painted of the diversity of foreign policy considerations, and the often disparate departments and interests which are making them.

  • Stealth Fighter Fever

    Robert Joustra

    First, it is a chance for Public Minister Rona Ambrose to showcase procurement done right. The fighter procurement process has been the responsibility of Minister Ambrose since last spring, following Ferguson's audit. Her handling, together with that of veteran senior bureaucrat Tom Ring, of the government's much-lauded ship-building contract process in the fall of 2011 has branded her as the key person to turn this procurement process around.

  • Wishing for a Secret Agenda

    Robert Joustra

    Have a closer look at what the leaked documents say. We see the Prime Minister's intended plan to diversity trade to emerging markets. This has been true since even before the collapse of Keystone, and what Fen Hampson at Carleton University called the Americans' "silly season", also known as an election.

  • The Devil's Advocate

    Robert Joustra

    Herds of peaceably grazing policy wonks have been left shaking their heads in dismay as the marauding presidential campaigns have rampaged through their turf, leaving a trail of wrong-headed assumptions, non sequiturs and outright falsehoods strewn behind them....But are election races a useful platform for debating ideas? Preston Manning suggests they’re not, arguing that parties especially are not really good at generating or debating ideas.


In a secular age, there is a push to strip the public square of all signs of faith. But freedom of religion and freedom of expression are the bare basics for a people to call themselves free. Convivium is a voice for the rightful role of faith and for people of faith in our pluralistic society.

Join us by following Convivium on Facebook and Twitter, by subscribing to our free newsletter, by telling your friends about us, and by donating to the cause.