Tag Archives: Religion and Politics

“Atheist Identities – Spaces and Social Contexts ” (Beaman & Tomlins, eds.)

In November, Springer releases “Atheist Identities – Spaces and Social Contexts ” edited by Lori G. Beaman (University of Ottawa) and Steven Tomlins (PhD candidate at University of Ottawa). The publisher’s description follows:

The essays in this book not only examine the variety of atheist expression and experience in the Western context, they also explore how local, national and international settings may contribute to the shaping of atheist identities. By addressing identity at these different levels, the book explores how individuals construct their own atheist—or non-religious—identity, how they construct community and how identity factors into atheist interaction at the social or institutional levels. The book offers an interdisciplinary comparative approach to the analysis of issues relating to atheism, such as demography, community engagement, gender politics, stigmatism and legal action. It covers such themes as: secularization; the social context of atheism in various Western countries; the shifting of atheist identities based on different cultural and national contexts; the role of atheism in multicultural settings; how the framework of “reasonable accommodation” applies to atheism; interactions and relationships between atheism and religion; and how atheism is represented for political and legal purposes. Featuring contributions by international scholars at the cutting edge of atheism studies, this volume offers unique insights into the relationship between atheism and identity. It will serve as a useful resource for academics, journalists, policy makers and readers interested in secular and religious studies, identity construction and identity politics as well as atheism in general.

Turner, “Religious Ideology and the Roots of Global Jihad”

This August, Palgrave Macmillan Publishing released “Religious Ideology and the Roots of Global Jihad: Salafi Jihadism and International Order” by John A. Turner.  The publisher’s description follows:

Religious Ideology and the Roots of Global JihadThe events of September 11, 2001 brought global attention to the significance of the Global Jihad. Many asked why the attack had occurred and numerous questions from all sectors of society emerged, in particular, why had they chosen to target the US and West in general?

This book explores the historical, social and ideological origins of the Global Jihad. It presents original conclusions and observations, moving beyond traditional narratives on Salafi Jihadism and the conceptual frameworks which have often resided in fixed temporal or geographical contexts. To understand the phenomenon of Salafi Jihadism, and by extension Jihadist organisations and the Global Jihad, an approach that takes account of religious ideology and historical understandings must be considered. This unique study will be a valuable resource to scholars of International Relations, Security Studies, the Middle East and Terrorism.

One More Word on Ted Cruz and Christians

Senator Ted Cruz responded yesterday to writers who criticized his needlessly provocative remarks at the recent In Defense of Christians Summit earlier this month. He suggested that his critics didn’t care about Christians — their real target was Israel. His evidence? None of his critics had ever expressed concern for Mideast Christians before:

Then, among one particular community, which is sort of the elite, intellectual Washington, D.C., crowd, there has been considerable criticism… A number of the critics, a number of the folks in the media have suggested, for example, that my saying what I did distracted from the plight of persecuted Christians.

What I find interesting is almost to a person, the people writing those columns have never or virtually never spoken of persecuted Christians in any other context. I have spoken literally hundreds of times all over the country. This is a passion. I’ve been on the Senate floor, and I intend to keep highlighting this persecution. I will say it does seem interesting that the only time at least some of these writers seem to care about persecuted Christians is when it furthers an anti-Israel narrative for them. That starts to suggest that maybe their motivation is not exactly what they’re saying.

For a man who claims a passion for the plight of Mideast Christians, he doesn’t seem to have followed public discussion of the subject. The writers to whom he alludes — Michael Dougherty, Ross Douthat, Rod Dreher, Mollie Hemingway, Matt Lewis, and, I guess, me (my criticism of him at the First Things site was the most widely-read and commented-upon post at the site last week) — have written plenty on the topic. First Things’s Matt Schmitz kindly posted a list of my own posts — 37 of them.

Within a few hours, Senator Cruz had apologized:

It was a mistake to suggest that critics of my remarks at IDC had not spoken out previously concerning the persecution of Christians; many of them have done so, often quite eloquently. It was not my intent to impugn anyone’s integrity, and I apologize to any columnists who took offense. The systematic murder of Christians in the Middle East is a horrible atrocity, and all of us should be united against it. Likewise we should speak with one voice against the persecution of Jews, usually being carried out by the very same jihadist radicals.

OK, I accept — although he still hasn’t apologized for lumping me in with the elite, intellectual, Beltway crowd. But it’s an ugly thing to insinuate bigotry in people who disagree with you, and, on this issue at least, Senator Cruz seems to make a habit of it. Nothing good can come from this, not for Mideast Christians, not for Israel, and not for Senator Cruz. I have an proposal. His critics will stop talking about Senator Cruz if he does. Is it a deal?

Ellethy, “Islam, Context, Pluralism and Democracy”

This November, Routledge Publishing will release “Islam, Context, Pluralism and Democracy: Classical and Modern Interpretations” by Yasser Ellethy (VU University, Amsterdam).  The publisher’s description follows:

Islam, Context, Pluralism and Democracy aspires to clarify the tensions and congruences between the revelational and the rational, the text and the context, the limits and the horizons of contextualization in Islam, as these emanate from the Islamic interpretative tradition.

This book examines classical and modern Muslim interpretations with regard to the concepts of diachronic development, pluralism and democracy based on Arabic-Islamic sources and literature. Focusing on the parameters of semantic changes, methods of interpretation and cultural variables, it shows how this interpretative tradition offers a diversity of ideas and approaches that can be utilized in contemporary debates concerning the socio-political contextualization of Islamic genuine thought. However, within this diversity, Islam presents generic principles and core values as ‘moral paradigms’ that can deal with such modern challenges. Based on the analysis of core Islamic texts and key-terms related to the discussed issues, mainly from the Quran and the Sunnah, and the broader Arabic-Islamic literature, it explores the boundaries of the mutable and constant in the Islamic worldview.

Presenting classical Muslim interpretations and scholars as possible interlocutors in debates over the compatibility of Islam with challenges of modernity, this book is essential reading for researchers and postgraduates interested in Islamic Studies, Philosophy of Religion and Political Science.

“Religion in the Public Square” (Uitz, ed.)

This September, Eleven International Publishing releases “Religion in the Public Square: Perspectives on Secularism” edited by Renáta Uitz (Central European University).  The publisher’s description follows:

Screen shot 2014-09-24 at 11.04.05 AMWhat is the place of religion and religious convictions in government, politics and in public life – taking into consideration the need to respect the free exercise of religion? In the separation or neutrality paradigm, religious organizations (churches) are expected to stay away from public affairs. But other models of state neutrality and secularity – rooted in historical struggles and influenced by experiences and mistakes – result in differing forms of cooperation between religious organizations and the state.

“Politics of Religion/Religions of Politics” (Welchman ed.)

In November, Springer releases “Politics of Religion/Religions of Politics” edited by Alistair Welchman (University of Texas at San Antonio). The publisher’s description follows:

The liberal enlightenment as well as the more radical left have both traditionally opposed religion as a reactionary force in politics, a view culminating in an identification of the politics of religion as fundamentalist theocracy. But recently a number of thinkers—Agamben, Badiou, Tabues and in particular Simon Critchley—have begun to explore a more productive engagement of the religious and the political in which religion features as a possible or even necessary form of human emancipation. The papers in this collection, deriving from a workshop held on and with Simon Critchley at the University of Texas at San Antonio in February 2010, take up the ways in which religion’s encounter with politics transforms not only politics but also religion itself, molding it into various religions of politics, including not just heretical religious metaphysics, but also what Critchley describes as non-metaphysical religion, the faith of the faithless. Starting from Critchley’s own genealogy of Pauline faith, the articles in this collection explore and defend some of the religions of politics and their implications. Costica Bradatan teases out the implications of Critchley’s substitution of humor for tragedy as the vehicle for the minimal self-distancing required for any politics. Jill Stauffer compares Critchley’s non-metaphysical religiosity with Charles Taylor’s account of Christianity. Alistair Welchman unpacks the political theology of the border in terms of god’s timeless act of creation. Anne O’Byrne explores the subtle dialectic between mores and morality in Rousseau’s political ethics.  Roland Champagne sees a kind non-metaphysical religion in Arendt’s category of the political pariah. Davide Panagia presents Critchley’s ethics of exposure as the basis for a non-metaphysical political bond. Philip Quadrio wonders about the political ramifications of Critchley’s own ‘mystical anarchism’ and Tina Chanter re-reads the primal site in the Western tradition at which the political and the religious intersect, the Antigone story, side-stepping philosophical interpretations of the story (dominated by Hegel’s reading) by means of a series of post-colonial re-imaginings of the play. The collection concludes with an interview with Simon Critchley taking up the themes of the workshop in the light of more recent political events: the Arab Spring and the rise and fall of the Occupy movement.

“Multiculturalism and Religious Identity: Canada and India” (Sikka & Beaman eds.)

Last month, McGill-Queens University Press released “Multiculturalism and Religious Identity:  Canada and India”  edited by Sonia Sikka (University of Ottawa) and Lori G. Beaman (University of Ottawa). The publisher’s description follows:

How, and to what extent, can religion be included within commitments to multiculturalism? Multiculturalism and Religious Identity addresses this question by examining the political recognition and management of religious identity in Canada and India.

In multicultural policy, practice, and literature, religion has until recently not been included within broader discussions of multiculturalism, perhaps due to worries of potential for conflict with secularism. This collection undertakes a contemporary analysis of how the Canadian and Indian states each approach religious diversity through social and political policies, as well as how religion and secularism meet both philosophically and politically in contested public space. Although Canada and India have differing political and religious histories – leading to different articulations of multiculturalism, religious diversity, and secularism – both countries share a commitment to ensuring fair treatment for the different religious communities they include.

Combining broader theoretical and normative reflections with close case studies, Multiculturalism and Religious Identity leads the way to addressing these timely issues in the Canadian and Indian contexts.

“The Public Face of African New Religious Movements in Diaspora: Imagining the Religious ‘Other’” (Adogame ed.)

Next month, Ashgate Publishing will release “The Public Face of African New Religious Movements in Diaspora: Imagining the Religious ‘Other’” edited by Afe Adogame (University of Edinburgh). The publisher’s description follows:

The growing pace of international migration, technological revolution in media and travel generate circumstances that provide opportunities for the mobility of African new religious movements (ANRMs) within Africa and beyond. ANRMs are furthering their self-assertion and self-insertion into the religious landscapes of Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Their growing presence and public visibility seem to be more robustly captured by the popular media than by scholars of NRMs, historians of religion and social scientists, a tendency that has probably shaped the public mental picture and understanding of the phenomena. This book provides new theoretical and methodological insights for understanding and interpreting ANRMs and African-derived religions in diaspora.

Contributors focus on individual groups and movements drawn from Christian, Islamic, Jewish and African-derived religious movements and explore their provenance and patterns of emergence; their belief systems and ritual practices; their public/civic roles; group self-definition; public perceptions and responses; tendencies towards integration/segregation; organisational networks; gender orientations and the implications of interactions within and between the groups and with the host societies. The book includes contributions from scholars and religious practitioners, thus offering new insights into how ANRMs can be better defined, approached, and interpreted by scholars, policy makers, and media practitioners alike.

“Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths” (Richardson & Bellanger eds.)

This October, Ashgate Publishing will release “Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths,” edited by James T. Richardson (University of Nevada) and François Bellanger (University of Geneva, Switzerland).  The publisher’s description follows:

Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority FaithsNew religious movements (NRMs) and other minority faiths have regularly been the focus of legal cases around the world in recent decades. This is the first book to focus on important aspects of the relationship of smaller faiths to the societies in which they function by using specific legal cases to examine social control efforts. The legal cases involve group leaders, a groups’ practices or alleged abuses against members and children in the group, legal actions brought by former members or third parties, attacks against such groups by outsiders including even governments, and libel and slander actions brought by religious groups as they seek to defend themselves. These cases are sometimes milestones in the relation between state authorities and religious groups.

Exploring cases in different parts of the world, and assessing the events causing such cases and their consequences, this book offers a practical insight for understanding the relations of NRMs and other minority religions and the law from the perspective of legal cases. Chapters focus on legal, political, and social implications. Including contributions from scholars, legal practitioners, actual or former members, and authorities involved in such cases from various jurisdictions, this book presents an objective approach to understanding why so many legal actions have involved NRMs and other minority faiths in recent years in western societies, and the consequences of those actions for the society and the religious group as well.

“Religion, Nation and Democracy in the South Caucasus” (Agadjanian et al., eds.)

This October, Routledge Press will release “Religion, Nation and Democracy in the South Caucasus” edited by Alexander Agadjanian (Russian State University), Ansgar Jödicke (University of Fribour, Switzerland), and Evert van der Zweerde (Radbout University of Nijmegen, Netherlands).  The publisher’s description follows:

Religion, Nation and Democracy in South CaucasusThis book explores developments in the three major societies of the South Caucasus – Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia – focusing especially on religion, historical traditions, national consciousness, and political culture, and on how these factors interact. It outlines how, despite close geographical interlacement, common historical memories and inherited structures, the three countries have deep differences; and it discusses how development in all three nations has differed significantly from the countries’ declared commitments to democratic orientation and European norms and values. The book also considers how external factors and international relations continue to impact on the three countries.