Special Issue "Religion and Politics: New Developments Worldwide"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Roy C. Amore
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Political Science, University of Windsor, 401 Sunset Ave, Windsor, ON N9B 3P4, Canada
Interests: religion and politics; comparative Asian politics; religious fundamentalism; engaged Buddhism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue on “Religion and Politics: New Developments Worldwide” will feature articles dealing with recent developments in the interaction of religion and politics. “Religion” here is broadly understood to encompass not only institutionalized religion(s) but also ethical, ritual or social issues that form a part of the religious milieu. “Politics” is also broadly conceived to encompass not only government structures or political parties but also the social movements that tend to influence, sooner or later, the values that shape government policies.

The referees and guest editor will be looking for articles that focus on something new, meaning some development that has either taken shape fairly recently or has gained new strength recently. Articles may focus on a specific country (e.g., “The Increasing Role of Hindu Nationalism in Indian Politics”), on a region (e.g., “New Trends in the Anti-Immigration Parties in Europe”), or on a worldwide theme (e.g, “The Growing Influence of Evangelical Christianity”).

Contributions of sound scholarship arising from any academic discipline relevant to the Special Issue’s focus are welcome; including but not limited to political science, religious studies, sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, journalism or media studies.

The intent of this Special Issue is to provide readers with articles, based on sound scholarship, that advance the understanding of current developments in Religion and Politics anywhere in the world. 

Prof. Roy C. Amore
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • political science
  • religious studies
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • women’s studies journalism
  • media studies

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Religion and Politics in the People’s Republic of China: An Appraisal of Continuing Mistrust and Misunderstanding
Religions 2019, 10(5), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050333 - 18 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Western media reports on the relationship between state and religion in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), American media especially often focuses on the anti-religious repression and violence in the Tibetan Autonomous and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions on the western border of the [...] Read more.
Western media reports on the relationship between state and religion in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), American media especially often focuses on the anti-religious repression and violence in the Tibetan Autonomous and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regions on the western border of the country. These accounts shape a particular understanding of the PRC that fuels mistrust and misunderstanding. This essay seeks to understand elements that contribute to this journalistic orientation first by looking at government documents that outline the legal parameters for the practice of religion for both citizens and foreigners; second, by examining official U.S. oversight and critique of these; and finally, by considering accounts of accommodation and cooperation between the official institutions and religious practitioners and organizations. The PRC documents include two White Papers on official policies and a memorandum on religious charity work, “Provisions” for foreigners and “Regulations” for Chinese citizens. Also included will be critical analyses and commentaries from the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor within the State Department. Finally, accounts of the evangelical Christian Gospel Rehab in Yunnan and various Hui Muslim communities and individuals in Dubai will illustrate the multiple strategies used by the government in handling religious groups. The records suggest that the mistrust and misunderstanding between the two powers grow out of vastly different assumptions, perspectives and interpretations of the situation. They show that the PRC and the U.S. are very far apart in their understanding of religion in mainland China. While the communist state understands itself to be fighting separatists and terrorists in the western border regions in order to maintain security, peace and stability in the country, the Americans see the Chinese as persecuting religious and ethnic minorities. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Coming Home (Ghar Wapsi) and Going Away: Politics and the Mass Conversion Controversy in India
Religions 2019, 10(5), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050313 - 09 May 2019
Abstract
This article addresses two recent socio-religious trends in India: mass conversions to Hinduism (Ghar Wapsi) and mass conversions from Hinduism. Despite officially being a secular nation, organizations allied with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are actively promoting mass conversions to [...] Read more.
This article addresses two recent socio-religious trends in India: mass conversions to Hinduism (Ghar Wapsi) and mass conversions from Hinduism. Despite officially being a secular nation, organizations allied with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are actively promoting mass conversions to Hinduism. Other religions organize mass conversions, usually of Dalits, away from Hinduism and its legacy of caste discrimination. While several states have controversial laws placing restrictions on mass conversions from Hinduism, mass conversions to Hinduism are often seen as being promoted rather than restricted. Full article
Open AccessArticle
How Avoiding the Religion–Politics Divide Plays out in Sikh Politics
Religions 2019, 10(5), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10050296 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This article looks at the intersection of religion and politics in the evolution of the Sikh tradition in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods in the Indian subcontinent. The Sikh notion of sovereignty is at the heart of the intersection of religious and [...] Read more.
This article looks at the intersection of religion and politics in the evolution of the Sikh tradition in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial periods in the Indian subcontinent. The Sikh notion of sovereignty is at the heart of the intersection of religious and secular domains, and this relationship is examined empirically and theoretically. In particular, the conception of mīrī-pīrī is presented as a possible explanation for understanding the ‘new developments’ in contemporary Sikh politics in India. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Je Suis Charlie or the Fragility of the Republican Sacred: On January 11th, 2015 and Its Afterlives
Religions 2019, 10(3), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030202 - 15 Mar 2019
Abstract
Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the demonstrations or “public mourning” of January 11th, 2015 were heralded by many as the return of the republican sacred, the re-crystallization of a long dormant people, and the resurrection of French fraternity en vivo. However, [...] Read more.
Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the demonstrations or “public mourning” of January 11th, 2015 were heralded by many as the return of the republican sacred, the re-crystallization of a long dormant people, and the resurrection of French fraternity en vivo. However, in the saturation of these political hagiographies, a series of trenchant critiques and observations quickly sought to deconstruct the meaning and putative symbolic power of January 11th. One was struck by the homogeneity of “the people” and the ostensible absence of Arabo-Muslim voices in the somber effervescence that typified the post-Charlie ambiance. Moments of silence were mocked in the banlieue and the homage rendered to the “blasphemers” was blasphemed itself. The imperative to “be Charlie” emerged less as a totemic index of republican solidarity than a Manichean strategy which exacerbated the generally perceived “fracture française”. The result was not only a calling into question of the legitimacy of January 11th, but also a series of counter-articulations which affirmed inter alia “Je ne suis pas Charlie” or worse “Je suis Coulibaly”. January 11th also divided the French left between those who read the event as the re-enchantment of the republican sacred and the people and “liberal” missives which deemed it a simulacra of solidarity, a racist demonstration comprised of “Catholic Zombies” and “Islamophobes”. This paper examines the cleavages engendered by January 11th and its afterlives which reveal not only the fragility of the Republic as a project, but also the fragility of the political sacred that has historically girded this project. At stake is not simply the question “who is Charlie”, but rather “who are the people” and what form they can or should take in a pluralist republic plunged in the perilous entre-deux between communitarianism and the possibility of a cosmopolitan republicanism. January 11th, far from being a simple demonstration, is a metaphor, a nodal point, and a seismograph of the force and frailness of the republican sacred and its capacity to enthrall, convince, and console. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nigeria and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation: A Discourse in Identity, Faith and Development, 1969–2016
Religions 2019, 10(3), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030156 - 05 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Nigeria is both a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, with Islam and Christianity being the dominant religions. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is therefore an institution that the Muslim segment of the country can readily identify with. However, there is the question of [...] Read more.
Nigeria is both a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, with Islam and Christianity being the dominant religions. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is therefore an institution that the Muslim segment of the country can readily identify with. However, there is the question of the secular posture of the country, which Christians within the polity use as an excuse to distance the country from an institution they perceive to be exclusively for Muslims. However, despite being an organization that emerged from Muslim solidarity, the OIC transcends faith to provide economic and political opportunities for member nations. The fact that Islam remains a rallying point within the OIC, however, made Nigeria’s relationship with the organization tenuous for the most part. It is against this backdrop that the paper traces the origins and evolution of Nigeria’s involvement with the OIC, identifying its cost and benefits. The essay argues that Nigeria will be the better for it if both the Christian and Muslim segments of the population embrace the OIC as a whole or are unanimous in discarding it. The divisive tendency that Nigeria’s membership breeds, however, will be detrimental to the nation’s unity and development. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Reflections on the Evolution of the State of the Art
Religions 2019, 10(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020099 - 06 Feb 2019
Abstract
Reflections on the evolution of the state of the art in the study of religion, society, and politics in Latin America over the last five decades begin with a critical assessment of the conventional wisdom of fifty years ago, as conveyed in texts [...] Read more.
Reflections on the evolution of the state of the art in the study of religion, society, and politics in Latin America over the last five decades begin with a critical assessment of the conventional wisdom of fifty years ago, as conveyed in texts and in graduate education. Stress was placed on modernization and secularization (with religion depicted as static and destined to decline) on consensus as a foundation for social life, and on drawing clear lines between religion and politics. These concepts were of little use when confronted in the late 1960s with a reality of continuous change, conflict, and efforts from left and right to assert a public role for religion. Working concepts of religion and politics had to be broadened well beyond church and state. Conceptual space had to be found for religious pluralism as the emergence of Pentecostal and evangelical churches was putting an end to centuries of Catholic monopoly: Latin America was becoming religiously plural. The state of the art is now much improved. Current and future research could usefully focus attention on issues like sexuality, gender, and identity, spirituality and encounters with charismatic power, and the new realities of religion and violence. Mid-range theories that give prominence to change and to the relation among social levels, and mixed methodologies that highlight meaning and significance will be central to any future state of the art that can make sense of a reality marked by continuing waves of creative change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Should Governments Tax the Rich and Subsidize the Poor? A Comparative Study of Muslim and Christian Respondents
Religions 2019, 10(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020072 - 23 Jan 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study used the most recent World Values Survey (WVS) dataset to determine whether Christian and Muslim views on the acceptability of taxing the rich and subsidizing the poor was an essential feature of democracy. The sample size included more than 23,000 individuals [...] Read more.
This study used the most recent World Values Survey (WVS) dataset to determine whether Christian and Muslim views on the acceptability of taxing the rich and subsidizing the poor was an essential feature of democracy. The sample size included more than 23,000 individuals from more than 50 countries. More than a dozen socioeconomic and attitudinal variables were also examined to determine whether significant differences existed. The study found that differences in viewpoint were often significant. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Moderate Southeast Asian Islamic Education as a Parent Culture in Deradicalization: Urgencies, Strategies, and Challenges
Religions 2019, 10(1), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010045 - 10 Jan 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Radicalization is a terminological conflation of the two meanings in the context of extreme beliefs or behaviors adopted by individuals or groups as a justification for the use of violence to achieve the objectives. Since radicalization primarily emphasises on, and departures from, the [...] Read more.
Radicalization is a terminological conflation of the two meanings in the context of extreme beliefs or behaviors adopted by individuals or groups as a justification for the use of violence to achieve the objectives. Since radicalization primarily emphasises on, and departures from, the understanding and cognitive processes, the role of peaceful and moderate education in this case can be effectively utilized to serve as a considerably relevant means to prevent it. In addition, radicalization is also limited by the social, political, and economic contexts of a particular region, and combined with the degree of individual autonomy in the search for identity. Accordingly, the deradicalization efforts actually necessitate the consideration of the sociopolitical culture as the basis for policy makers. It is based on the consideration that the radicalization of Islam, even though strongly characterized by transnational movement, contains local elements leading to the radicalization as occasionally random and ununiformed violence in the Muslim world. The findings suggest some valuable strategies to deconstruct the idea of radicalization that can be implemented in several ways, including building and empowering local characterization of Indonesian education of Muslims in particular and of Southeast Asian in general, and reducing the Wahhabism extreme teachings and such highly irrational and ahistorical Arabization ideas and programs in Indonesian context. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Spiritual Dimensions of the Permaculture Movement in Cuba
Religions 2018, 9(11), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110342 - 03 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba experienced an acute economic crisis in the 1990s known as the “Special Period”. This crisis challenged not only the state’s ability to provide for Cubans’ material needs, but also the moral vision of creating a [...] Read more.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba experienced an acute economic crisis in the 1990s known as the “Special Period”. This crisis challenged not only the state’s ability to provide for Cubans’ material needs, but also the moral vision of creating a “New Human” within the Revolution’s political framework. During the Special Period, a variety of new religious and civil society movements emerged to meet both the material and spiritual needs of Cubans. Permaculture, a holistic design system that arrived from Australia in 1993, promotes more harmonious relationships between human beings and nature through a set of three ethical principles: (1) Care for the Earth; (2) Care for People; and (3) Sharing Resources. Within the Cuban context, the growing permaculture movement is part of a larger set of religious and civil society revivals since the fall of the Soviet Bloc. Using qualitative fieldwork, this paper argues that permaculture is functioning as a religious-like movement in Cuba because it provides both spiritual and material benefits to individuals through networks of mutual aid and social solidarity. The permaculture movement also provides flexibility for individual perspectives about nature as sacred and having intrinsic value apart from usefulness to humans. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Taxpayer’s Religiosity, Religion, and the Perceptions of Tax Equity: Case of South Korea
Religions 2018, 9(11), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9110333 - 30 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of religiosity and religion on tax equity. Most prior studies have argued that higher taxpayers’ religiosity reduces tax evasion and increases the level of tax morale. Various studies have also shown that tax [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of religiosity and religion on tax equity. Most prior studies have argued that higher taxpayers’ religiosity reduces tax evasion and increases the level of tax morale. Various studies have also shown that tax evasion and morale vary with perceptions of tax equity, including exchange, horizontal, and vertical equities. However, the relationship between religiosity and tax equity has not been studied actively. Especially in Korea, there has been considerable debate about the implementation of taxation for clergies. Therefore, the relationship between religiosity and tax equity will be analyzed clearly using Korean survey panel data. The results of this study show that religiosity and religion do not affect exchange and horizontal equity; however, each religion affects vertical equity. This implies that economic and social incentives are more effective than religiosity and religion on taxpayers’ tax evasion or morale. Full article
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