The Political Origins of Religious Liberty

Author: Anthony Gill
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139467638
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The issue of religious liberty has gained ever-increasing attention among policy makers and the public. Whereas politicians have long championed the idea of religious freedom and tolerance, the actual achievement of these goals has been an arduous battle for religious minorities. What motivates political leaders to create laws providing for greater religious liberty? In contrast to scholars who argue that religious liberty results from the spread of secularization and modern ideas, Anthony Gill argues that religious liberty results from interest-based calculations of secular rulers. Using insights from political economists, Gill develops a theory of the origins of religious liberty based upon the political and economic interests of governing officials. Political leaders are most likely to permit religious freedom when it enhances their own political survival, tax revenue, and the economic welfare of their country. He explores his theory using cases from British America, Latin America, Russia, and the Baltic states.

Religion and Authoritarianism

Author: Karrie J. Koesel
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139867792
Format: PDF
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This book provides a rare window into the micropolitics of contemporary authoritarian rule through a comparison of religious-state relations in Russia and China - two countries with long histories of religious repression, and even longer experiences with authoritarian politics. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in multiple sites in these countries, this book explores what religious and political authority want from one another, how they negotiate the terms of their relationship, and how cooperative or conflicting their interactions are. This comparison reveals that while tensions exist between the two sides, there is also ample room for mutually beneficial interaction. Religious communities and their authoritarian overseers are cooperating around the core issue of politics - namely, the struggle for money, power and prestige - and becoming unexpected allies in the process.

The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics

Author: Andrew R. Lewis
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108285619
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics documents a recent, fundamental change in American politics with the waning of Christian America. Rather than conservatives emphasizing morality and liberals emphasizing rights, both sides now wield rights arguments as potent weapons to win political and legal battles and build grassroots support. Lewis documents this change on the right, focusing primarily on evangelical politics. Using extensive historical and survey data that compares evangelical advocacy and evangelical public opinion, Lewis explains how the prototypical culture war issue - abortion - motivated the conservative rights turn over the past half century, serving as a springboard for rights learning and increased conservative advocacy in other arenas. Challenging the way we think about the culture wars, Lewis documents how rights claims are used to thwart liberal rights claims, as well as to provide protection for evangelicals, whose cultural positions are increasingly in the minority; they have also allowed evangelical elites to justify controversial advocacy positions to their base and to engage more easily in broad rights claiming in new or expanded political arenas, from health care to capital punishment.

Religion and Politics in the European Union

Author: François Foret
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107082714
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book analyzes the place and influence of religion in European politics. François Foret presents the first data ever collected on the religious beliefs of European decision makers and what they do with these beliefs. Discussing popular assumptions such as the return of religion, aggressive European secularism, and religious lobbying, Foret offers objective data and non-normative conceptual frameworks to clarify some major issues in the contemporary political debate.

Religion and International Relations Theory

Author: Jack Snyder
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231526911
Format: PDF
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Today religious concerns stand at the center of international politics, yet key paradigms in international relations, namely realism, liberalism, and constructivism, barely consider religion in their analysis of political subjects. Whether the issue is Islamic terrorism, the Christian Right's foreign policy predilections toward Israel and Southern Sudan, the complications of faith-based Western activism abroad, the potential destabilization of atheist China by the Dalai Lama and Falun Gong, or the threat Burmese monks pose to Myanmar's military regime, the rising prominence of religion challenges the conceptual frameworks of international relations. Through models that integrate religion into the study of international politics, the essays in this collection offer a guide to updating the field. Authored by leading scholars, these pieces connect religion to a rising form of populist politics in the developing world. Contributors identify religion as pervasive and distinctive, forcing a reframing of IR theory that reinterprets traditional paradigms. For example, Daniel Nexon (Georgetown University) draws on both realism and constructivism in the examination of religious discourse and transnational networks. Elizabeth Hurd (Northwestern University) positions secularism not as the opposite of religion but as a comparable type of worldview drawing on and competing with religious ideas. With the secular state's perceived failure to address popular needs, religion has become a banner for movements demanding a more responsive government. The contributors to this volume recognize this trend and propose structural and theoretical innovations for future innovations in the discipline.

Political Secularism Religion and the State

Author: Jonathan Fox
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1316299686
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This book examines 111 types of state religion policy in 177 countries between 1990 and 2008. Jonathan Fox argues that policy is largely a result of the competition between political secular actors and religious actors, both of which try to influence state religion policy. While there are other factors that influence state religion policy and both the secular and religious camps are divided, Fox offers that the secular-religious competition perspective provides critical insight into the nature of religious politics across the globe. While many states have both increased and decreased their involvement in religion, Fox demonstrates that states which have become more involved in religion are far more common.

Islam and Mammon

Author: Timur Kuran
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400837359
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The doctrine of "Islamic economics" entered debates over the social role of Islam in the mid-twentieth century. Since then it has pursued the goal of restructuring economies according to perceived Islamic teachings. Beyond its most visible practical achievement--the establishment of Islamic banks meant to avoid interest--it has promoted Islamic norms of economic behavior and founded redistribution systems modeled after early Islamic fiscal practices. In this bold and timely critique, Timur Kuran argues that the doctrine of Islamic economics is simplistic, incoherent, and largely irrelevant to present economic challenges. Observing that few Muslims take it seriously, he also finds that its practical applications have had no discernible effects on efficiency, growth, or poverty reduction. Why, then, has Islamic economics enjoyed any appeal at all? Kuran's answer is that the real purpose of Islamic economics has not been economic improvement but cultivation of a distinct Islamic identity to resist cultural globalization. The Islamic subeconomies that have sprung up across the Islamic world are commonly viewed as manifestations of Islamic economics. In reality, Kuran demonstrates, they emerged to meet the economic aspirations of socially marginalized groups. The Islamic enterprises that form these subeconomies provide advancement opportunities to the disadvantaged. By enhancing interpersonal trust, they also facilitate intragroup transactions. These findings raise the question of whether there exist links between Islam and economic performance. Exploring these links in relation to the long-unsettled question of why the Islamic world became underdeveloped, Kuran identifies several pertinent social mechanisms, some beneficial to economic development, others harmful.

Radical Religious and Violent

Author: Eli Berman
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262258005
Format: PDF, Kindle
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How do radical religious sects run such deadly terrorist organizations? Hezbollah, Hamas, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Taliban all began as religious groups dedicated to piety and charity. Yet once they turned to violence, they became horribly potent, executing campaigns of terrorism deadlier than those of their secular rivals. In Radical, Religious, and Violent, Eli Berman approaches the question using the economics of organizations. He first dispels some myths: radical religious terrorists are not generally motivated by the promise of rewards in the afterlife (including the infamous seventy-two virgins) or even by religious ideas in general. He argues that these terrorists (even suicide terrorists) are best understood as rational altruists seeking to help their own communities. Yet despite the vast pool of potential recruits -- young altruists who feel their communities are repressed or endangered -- there are less than a dozen highly lethal terrorist organizations in the world capable of sustained and coordinated violence that threatens governments and makes hundreds of millions of civilians hesitate before boarding an airplane. What's special about these organizations, and why are most of their followers religious radicals?Drawing on parallel research on radical religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Berman shows that the most lethal terrorist groups have a common characteristic: their leaders have found a way to control defection. Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban, for example, built loyalty and cohesion by means of mutual aid, weeding out "free riders" and producing a cadre of members they could rely on. The secret of their deadly effectiveness lies in their resilience and cohesion when incentives to defect are strong.These insights suggest that provision of basic social services by competent governments adds a critical, nonviolent component to counterterrorism strategies. It undermines the violent potential of radical religious organizations without disturbing free religious practice, being drawn into theological debates with Jihadists, or endangering civilians.

The Price of Freedom Denied

Author: Brian J. Grim
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139492411
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The Price of Freedom Denied shows that, contrary to popular opinion, ensuring religious freedom for all reduces violent religious persecution and conflict. Others have suggested that restrictions on religion are necessary to maintain order or preserve a peaceful religious homogeneity. Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke show that restricting religious freedoms is associated with higher levels of violent persecution. Relying on a new source of coded data for nearly 200 countries and case studies of six countries, the book offers a global profile of religious freedom and religious persecution. Grim and Finke report that persecution is evident in all regions and is standard fare for many. They also find that religious freedoms are routinely denied and that government and the society at large serve to restrict these freedoms. They conclude that the price of freedom denied is high indeed.