ISSN: 1522-5658

Volume 19 (2017)


Religion and Politics [ Supplement 14 ]

Edited by Ronald A. Simkins and Zachary B. Smith, Creighton University


Christian Fundamentalists or Atheists: Who do Progressive Christians Like or Hate More?

George Yancey, University of North Texas
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Does Religiosity Explain Cross-National Differences in Crime? The Case of American Versus Malaysian University Students

Anthony W. Hoskin, Idaho State University
Richard D. Hartley, University of Texas at San Antonio
Lee Ellis, University of Malaya
Haley McMurray, Idaho State University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Emotional Motivations of Islamic Activism: Autobiographies and Personal Engagement in Political Action

Aini Maarit Helena Linjakumpu, University of Lapland, Finland
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Empowered to Submit: Pentecostal Women in Nairobi

Gregory Deacon, Schenectady, New York
Damaris Parsitau, Egerton University, Kenya
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

The Adhan Controversy in Historical Perspective: Interpenetrating Protestant, Secular, and Pluralist Paradigms at Duke University, 1839-2016

Scott Muir, Duke University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Does Faith Make You Healthy and Happy? The Case of Evangelical Christians in the UK

Greg Smith, William Temple Foundation
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Continuity and Rupture: Pentecostal Practice, Community, and Memory in Pinochet’s Chile

Joseph Florez, University of Cambridge
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Revisionist Fiction and Religious Dogma: The Hidden Undercurrents

Alok Kumar and Nirbhay Mishra, GLA University, India
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Shaming in Judaism: Past, Present, Future

Tsuriel Rashi, Herzog College and Bar Ilan University
Hananel Rosenberg, Ariel University and Columbia University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Reform Israeli Female Rabbis Perform Community Leadership

Elazar Ben-Lulu, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Qur’an, Crucifixion, and Talmud: A New Reading of Q 4:157-58

Ian Mevorach, Emmanuel College
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Why Are We Worried? The Role of Religion and Out-Group Bias in Predicting American Fears

Theresa Davidson, Samford University
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Career Trajectories and (In)Formalization among Muslim Performing Artists in the UK and the U.S.: Accommodationism or Fundamentalism?

Yolanda van Tilborgh, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Babylon Will Be Found No More: On Affinities between Christianity and Anarcho-Primitivism

Johan Eddebo, Uppsala University, Sweden
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

“A New Sacred Space in the Centre of London”: The Victoria Tower Gardens Holocaust Memorial and the Religious-Secular Landscape of Contemporary Britain

David Tollerton, University of Exeter, UK
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

Explaining Abuse of “Child Witches” in Africa: Powerful Witchbusters in Weak States

Steve Snow, Wagner College
[ Abstract ] [ Article PDF ]

This paper examines the propensity of theological, political, and/or denominational progressive Christians to have affinity or disaffinity towards Christian fundamentalist and atheists. Thermometer questions on the American National Election Studies assess how progressive Christians rank Christian fundamentalists and atheists. Theological and political progressive Christians are shown to have disaffinity toward, or dislike of, fundamentalist Christians and are relatively less likely to have affinity towards, or to like, conservative Christians while they are less likely to have disaffinity towards, or to not like, atheists. Political progressive Christians also tend to have affinity with atheists. Belonging to a progressive Christian denomination did not have any effects on the affinity/disaffinity towards either Christian fundamentalists or atheists. These relationships remain after application of social and demographic controls.
Based on self-report data of college students from Malaysia (N = 1,359) and the United States (N = 1,629), crime rates of the two samples are compared. Criminal behavior is much more common in the American sample despite the country's greater wealth. Negative binomial regression analysis reveals that the lower alcohol consumption and especially the greater religiosity of the Malaysian students help explain their lower crime rate. Theoretical implications, study limitations, and avenues for future research are discussed.
The article examines autobiographies of persons who have belonged to different Islamic groups. The so-called cycle of engagement of an individual person – a "personal protest cycle" – to the Islamic activism is examined through the autobiographies. The main questions will be: how did one become an Islamic activist; how did the actual engagement occur; how did the activism evolve and how did the disengagement from the activism take place? Politics of emotions forms a general framework for understanding political activism and, more generally, protest or oppositional politics.
Neo-Pentecostalism is characterized as offering freedoms and empowerment for women, a limited role in navigating patriarchy, or strengthening patriarchal control. In Nairobi, Kenya, neo-Pentecostalism is concerned with a morality built around an idealized model of the nuclear family in which a wife is subservient to her husband. It might appear that women's ministries empower female members to challenge structures of control, but such challenges are resisted and women are expected only to survive within existing structures. Single-women are expected to live amongst the prejudices of society and dissuaded from any attempt to alter the societal structures that leave them marginalized.
This article illustrates how the 2015 adhan controversy exposed tensions between Protestant, pluralist, and secular paradigms at Duke University. It challenges both historical and contemporary models of the relationship between religion and higher education that assert the predominance of a single paradigm by illustrating how all three have been present throughout Duke's history, evolving and interacting through complex and contingent ebbs and flows. An interactive model is proposed for comparing how particular institutions at times have balanced (a) honoring a majority religious heritage, (b) fostering a religiously inclusive environment, and (c) creating power structures fair to all.
The science of happiness is a developing field which attempts to measure the health and emotional well-being of populations by reliable social survey techniques. One strand of research suggests that religious practice (believing and belonging) are positively associated with well-being measures. This paper assesses new evidence on the relationship between religiosity and the different dimensions of well-being (hedonic and eudaimonic). It makes direct comparisons between an opportunity sample of Evangelical Christians in the UK, and the reports of UK Office of National Statistics surveys of representative samples of the UK population. Evangelicals do show high scores on many standard indicators, with differences from the national population on eudaimonic scales that reach statistical significance. Their lifestyles are generally consistent with good health and well-being outcomes. However, when age profiles and income/social class are considered it remains to be established whether evangelical faith adds significant and measurable value to people's health and well-being, at least within this mortal life
This paper explores the penetration of Pentecostalism's discursive emphasis on rupture and discontinuity into the everyday lives of believers in authoritarian Chile. I argue that Pentecostal memories of the Pinochet dictatorship reflect a less categorical conceptualization of rupture and reveal the dense web of connections and identities that adherents utilized to find meaning and solutions to the struggles they faced in daily life. I further argue it is necessary to gauge Pentecostals' religious identities and cosmologies during the period through a wider historical framework. They were intimately folded into the long history of violence, oppression, and marginalization in which they were embedded.
The reinterpretation of religious ideas and beliefs through literary works has become an established literary genre. While some of these works seek to challenge religious authority on historical grounds, others question the relevance of traditional religious beliefs in providing solutions to our existential problems. Two works in this genre, the well-known thriller The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and the critically acclaimed book The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by Nobel Prize winning Portuguese author José Saramago, exemplify these diverse tendencies in employing fiction to probe religion. In the former, the authenticity of religious facts is questioned while the latter utilizes fiction to show the inadequacy of religious beliefs in answering our deepest problems. This paper contends that the confrontation with religious dogma in these two works is an expression of intellectual movements and ideologies, The Da Vinci Code relying on New Age ideology while The Gospel According to Jesus Christ drawing on existentialist themes. It also shows how these ideologies themselves are driven by the underlying religious polarities of the sacred and the profane.
It is sometimes thought that public shaming is a new phenomenon, only emerging with the advent of the Internet and, in particular, with the rapid growth of social media. Yet, from a historical and religious viewpoint public shaming can be seen as a modern version of legal penal practices that were common in the Middle Ages and occasionally resorted to in subsequent years. In this article, we survey the various modes of public shaming within the Jewish community in the Middle Ages and in modern times. We review whether and how the new practice of communications shaming on social media has been adopted by religious institutions as an extension of communal, traditional shaming, and discuss how rabbis relate to this today.
This article analyzes leadership performances of Israeli women serving as reform rabbis. The writer examines the ways in which these women construct the pattern of their religious leadership, the meanings they embed into the different practices they lead in their communities, and their unique conceptualizations of the role of female community rabbis. Reform female rabbi, who are also referred to as “rabba,” are excluded and discriminated against in Israel as leaders of communities overtly delegitimized by the government. Their unstable social status allows them great freedom to act and interpret the operational definition of Israeli community rabbinate. The female Rabbis’ stories are a product of a broader process of social change in women’s status in modern society in general and in Israeli society in particular.
This paper establishes and explores the inter-textuality of Sanhedrin 43a (a text from the Babylonian Talmud that contains a rabbinic counter-narrative to the New Testament story of Jesus’ death) with Q 4:157-58 (two verses of the Qur’an which have historically been read by Muslim and Christian scholars as a denial of Jesus’ death by crucifixion). The idea that the Qur’an denies the New Testament story of the crucifixion makes the two scriptures appear mutually exclusive. This article suggests that, rather than denying Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Qur’an may be defending this story from a counter-narrative.
The experience of worry is associated with a host of negative outcomes. This study analyzes the role of religion and out-group bias in predicting worries or fears often associated with an “other.” Using 2014 data from the Chapman Survey of American Fears, we examine the predictors of fear of personal violence, worries about a terrorist attack, and concerns that immigrants bring disease to the United States. Some religious measures are predictive of fears of personal violence and terrorism. Certain out-group bias measures are predictive of fear of terrorism and concerns about disease-carrying immigrants. Religion can exacerbate and reduce worries, as can sentiments about an “other.”
In the present era of heated debates on free expressions involving religious sensibilities, Muslim artists form a sociologically interesting group. Comparing the UK and the U.S., based on specific case studies of Black convert Muslim artists, the author found that Sufi- and Salafi-oriented performers display different dynamics in their career developments characterized by the intent to find congruity between their artistic aspiration and Islamic belief. Drawing from process-oriented sociological perspectives, the phases of formalization, informalization, and intensified formalization are theorized as constituting trajectories by which Muslim performing artists grapple with the relationship between art and religion. They reflect varying ideological orientations and influences regarding the (dis)embedment of Islam in culture.
This paper addresses affinities between Christian political theology and the Anarcho-primitivist critique of civilization. It is argued that there is a significant constructive potential in such a critique, especially in relation to the current political and societal situation, and that the critique to a great extent is compatible with traditional Christianity. It is further argued that this constructive potential, while currently hampered, can be effectively unlocked in relation to a proper theological anchoring of Anarcho-primitivism. It is then maintained that such an anchoring could most plausibly be provided by the Abrahamic traditions, and especially the Christian, due to the particular compatibility between Anarcho-primitivism and Christianity.
This article considers the relationship between Britain’s 21st century religious-secular landscape and the current plans to build a national Holocaust memorial next to the Houses of Parliament in London. I argue that the project should be understood as the construction of a new sacred site. Architectural elements in the design competition entries and the project’s underlying ideological framing variously intersect with Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as narratives of British identity and history. I propose that, despite the extreme and harrowing nature of the events being memorialized, the project should be scrutinized for the interplay of religious-secular elements and contemporary nationalism. Additionally, I conclude that the outcomes of the memorial’s interface with manifestations of sacrality may be more unpredictable than its organizers anticipate.
Thousands of African children have been accused of witchcraft, physically abused, and thrown out of their homes or killed over the last twenty years. Analyzing this phenomenon with the same model used to explain the pre-modern European witch hunts allows us to avoid contributing to the heart-of-darkness stereotype about Africa. Accusations of witchcraft against African children are prevalent where state authority is fragmented and open to pressure at the local level, in those areas with intense witch beliefs and sense of crisis stoked by zealous clergy acting as witchbusters. As in Europe for accused women, a perceived transgression of social roles by African children, due to increasing numbers of orphans due to the HIV crisis, has made them vulnerable to scapegoating. A focus on the Niger delta region, through examination of Nigerian and regional newspapers, indicates that witch hunts aimed at children can occur in weak or corrupt states, not only in collapsed states experiencing catastrophic crisis. In the wake of a 2008 BBC documentary, local Nigerian officials persecuted the activists who gave children shelter, apparently due to the political connections of the pastors who make money by labelling children as witches or demoniacs.