Tag Archives: Religion and State

Queens Congresswoman Calls for FEMA Funds for Churches Damaged by Hurricane Sandy

Here’s some local law-and-religion news from around CLR headquarters. Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-NY), who represents the congressional district adjacent to St. John’s, is calling for federal funds for houses of worship damaged in Hurricane Sandy last fall. Under present law, houses of worship are not eligible for FEMA assistance, presumably because of Establishment Clause concerns. Meng says she will attempt to amend pending federal disaster legislation to allow FEMA to make grants to houses of worship. She points out that “many churches, synagogues, mosques and temples are ‘pillars of their communities’ that provide essential services – such as employment, child care and food pantries – to local residents.”

Brewer, Mitchell & Leavey, “Ex-Combatants, Religion, and Peace in Northern Ireland”

In February, Palgrave MacMillan Publishing will publish Ex-Combatants, Religion, and Peace in Northern Ireland: The Role of Religion in Transitional Justice by John Brewer (University of Aberdeen, U.K.), David Mitchell, and Gerard Leavey. The publisher’s description follows.

Much has been written about the influence of religion on the Northern Ireland conflict and the part played by ex-combatants in the peace process. Yet we know very little about the religious outlook of ex-combatants themselves. Are they personally devout? Is religion important to their political identity? Did faith play a role in their decision to take up arms, or lay them down? And now that their war is over, does religion help them cope with the past?

Based on original interviews with ex-combatants from across the political and religious divide, this book addresses these questions, shedding new light on the interplay of religion, identity and violence in Ireland. It also shows how the case of Northern Ireland illuminates the current international debate around religion and peacemaking. Arguing that advocates of religious interventions in transitional justice often naively exaggerate its influence, a theoretical model for understanding the role of religion in transitional justice is proposed.