Stanley Carlson-Thies


Stanley Carlson-Thies is the founder and president of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, an organization that "safeguards the religious identity and faith-shaped standards and services of faith-based organizations, enabling them to make their distinctive and best contributions to the common good."

Carlson-Thies was formerly Director of Social Policy Studies at the Center for Public Justice, where his focus was consulting, research, and advocacy in the area of government policy concerning faith-based organizations. 

In 2001-02 he served with the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives. He helped write “Unlevel Playing Field: Barriers to Participation by Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Federal Social Service Programs,” a report released by the White House in August 2001, and “Rallying the Armies of Compassion,” the initial blueprint for President George W. Bush’s faith and community agenda.

Carlson-Thies currently serves on a task force of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is a senior fellow with Cardus, a Canadian faith-based think tank. He is also on the advisory committee for the Faith & Organizations project.

He has consulted widely with government agencies, including the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the Corporation for National and Community Services, state service commissions, and state offices of faith-based and community initiatives.

His publications include:

  • Charitable Choice for Welfare & Community Services: An Implementation Guide for State, Local, and Federal Officials (Center for Public Justice, 2000)
  • A Guide to Charitable Choice: The Rules of Section 104 of the 1996 Federal Welfare Law Governing State Cooperation with Faith-based Social-Service Providers (a co-publication of the Center for Public Justice and the Center for Law and Religious Freedom of the Christian Legal Society, 1997)
  • The Freedom of Faith-Based Organizations to Staff on a Religious Basis, with Carl Esbeck and Ron Sider (Center for Public Justice, 2004)
  • “Implementing the Faith-Based Initiative” in The Public Interest (Spring 2004)
  • Revolution of Compassion: Faith-Based Groups as Full Partners in Fighting America’s Social Problems, with Dave Donaldson (Baker Books, 2003)
  • "Why Should Washington, DC, Listen to Rome and Geneva About Public Policy for Civil Society?" in Jeanne Heffernan Schindler, ed., Christianity and Civil Society (Lexington Books, 2008)
  • "Faith-Based Initiative 2.0: The Bush Faith-Based and Community Initiative" in Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (Summer 2009)

Carlson-Thies was named as one of 12 advocates who are “reinterpreting God and country” by the National Journal in May 2004. He received the William Bentley Ball Life and Religious Liberty Defense Award from the Center for Law and Religious Freedom and the Christian Legal Society in October 2004. He holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Toronto.