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Friday, May 20, 2011

Church-state arrangements, religion, and violence

My colleague Dan Philpott, and his co-authors Tim Shah and Monica Toft, have a nice essay-summary up, at Public Discourse, of their new book, God's Century.  This bit might be of interest to those of us (I'm looking at you, Horwitz) who have been looking at the "institutional" dimension of First Amendment freedoms:

A (typically) thoughtful piece by Tim Shah, Dan Philpott, and Monica Toft:

. . . [R]eligion has made a political comeback, abetted by globalization, democratization, and technological development. Those religious actors who are most closely integrated with state authority and who hold a political theology that calls for state sponsorship, the subordination of minorities, and the use of violence are most likely to be violent. Those who have remained independent of state authority and carry a political theology that prescribes democracy, peace, and reconciliation are most likely to be peaceful and democratic. . . .

. . . [W]here government and religion lack institutional independence, the result is likely to be conflict, whereas independence is a precondition for democracy and a mediating influence. Thus it seems that a healthy institutional independence between religion and state is good for everyone, everywhere. This carries with it an important lesson for policy. While it does not mean that the U.S. ought to replicate exactly the first amendment of the Constitution, it does mean that a healthy secularism of separation is better for democracy, human rights, and peace, on one hand, and for the flourishing of religion, on the other. . . .

Posted by Rick Garnett on May 20, 2011 at 01:37 PM in Rick Garnett | Permalink


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