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  • Giovanni Maltese (a1)


Reproductive politics is the locus classicus for studying the entanglement of religion with politics and lawmaking processes in the Philippines. Although 25 percent of the total population participates in the Pentecostal movement, there is virtually no comprehensive work that studies this movement's attitudes about reproductive health. In this article I analyze Pentecostals’ attitude on reproductive health vis-à-vis recent studies that depict the movement as religious populism. I investigate the interests and exclusions that Pentecostals’ keywords and narratives, as well as recent scholarship on Pentecostalism, conceal. I first provide a genealogical reconstruction of the debate on reproductive health in the Philippines. Second, I provide an overview of the religious landscape and discuss Pentecostal's attitudes toward reproductive health while demonstrating that their rhetorical positions cannot be understood apart from hegemonic struggles and their entanglement with local and global discourse. Third, I draw theoretical and methodological implications for the study of Pentecostalism, politics, and lawmaking processes in the Philippines. Finally, I conclude by showing the relationship between Pentecostalism in the Philippines and the broader study of religion and politics, including making and implementing law.

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1 Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development PLCPD, RA 10354 A Primer on the Reproductive Health Law (Quezon City: Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development, 2013), 4–6, 911,; Karen Boncocan, “RH Bill Finally Signed Into Law,” (blog), December 28, 2012,; Cabral, Esperanza, “Reproductive Health Law in the Philippines,” Journal of the ASEAN Federation of Endocrine Societies, 28, no. 1 (2013): 2627.

2 Cabral, “Reproductive Health Law in the Philippines,” 28–29; Buena Bernal, “SC Declares RH Law Constitutional,” Rappler, April 10, 2014,; Genilo, Eric Marcelo O., “The Catholic Church and the Reproductive Health Bill Debate: The Philippine Experience,” Heythrop Journal 55, no. 6 (2014): 1044–55; Francisco, Jose Mario C., “Letting the Texts on RH Speak for Themselves: (Dis)Continuity and (Counter)Point in CBCP Statements,” Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints 63, no. 2 (2015): 223–46.

3 Kessler, Christl and Rüland, Jürgen, Give Jesus a Hand! Charismatic Christians: Populist Religion and Politics in the Philippines (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2008), 190–97.

4 Foucault, Michel, “Nietzsche, Genealogy, History,” in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, ed. Simon, Sherry (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1977), 139–64; Butler, Judith, Undoing Gender (New York: Routledge, 2004), 215–16.

5 Abdullahi A. An-Na'im, “Decolonizing Human Rights: From State-Centric to People-Centered” (unpublished manuscript).

6 Manaloto, Renato, “The Philippine Reproductive Health Legislation: Politics beyond Metaphysics,” Asian Bioethics Review 6, no. 4 (2014): 343–58, at 345; see also Parmanand, Sharmila, “Mapping the Path to Philippine Reproductive Rights Legislation: Signs of Progress amidst Obstacles,” Social Transformations: Journal of the Global South 2, no. 1 (2014): 6180; Jennifer Leighn Sta.Ana, “The Role of Catholicism on Reproductive Health Care Policies in Mexico and the Philippines” (master's thesis, Georgetown University, 2010),

7 Randeria, Shalini, “Fortpflanzung selbstverantwortlich gestalten” [Taking responsibility for reproduction] in Wenig Kinder—viel Konsum? Stimmen zur Bevölkerungsfrage von Frauen aus dem Süden und Norden [Few children—much consumption? Voices on population issues from women living in the south and in the north], ed. Zweifel, Helen (Basel: Brot für alle, 1994), 104–08, at 104–05; Randeria, Shalini, “The Crisis of Developmentalism: Some Theses on Culture, Political Process and Population Policies,” in Development Models and World Views, ed. Deutscher, Eckhard, Jahn, Thomas, and Moltmann, Bernard (Frankfurt: Societats, 1996), 7892.

8 Thanks to US funds, the budget of the Commission on Population was twice that of the Ministry of Social Services, notwithstanding that the former was a subdivision of the Ministry of Social Services. Maria Dulce F. Natividad, “Reproductive Politics, Religion and State Governance in the Philippines” (PhD dissertation, Columbia University, 2012), 40–44.

9 Leviste, Enrique N. P., “In the Name of Fathers, In Defense of Mothers: Hegemony, Resistance, and the Catholic Church on the Philippine Population Policy,” Philippine Sociological Review 64, no. 1 (2016): 544, at 32.

10 This influence was temporarily weakened when the United States took colonial control from Spain, but it was quickly regained during and after the Japanese occupation and the social changes related to industrialization programs, national independence, and urbanization in the second half of the twentieth century. Emergence of world ecumenism in the 1950s and the neo-Evangelical mission movement did not change this. Catholicism was never seriously threatened by Protestantism in the Philippines as it was in Latin America. The Cold War and the social changes helped the hierarchy strengthen its hegemonic role, and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, in reinterpreting parts of its teachings after Vatican II, institutionalized the Pentecostal-Charismatic renewal rather than quenching it. Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 52–86; Maltese, Giovanni, Pentekostalismus, Politik und Gesellschaft in den Philippinen [Pentecostalism, politics and society in the Philippines] (Baden-Baden: Ergon, 2017), 6267.

11 Austria, Carolina S. Ruiz, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies in the Context of Religious Fundamentalism in the Philippines,” Reproductive Health Matters 12, no. 24 (2004): 96103; Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 4–10. The fact that the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality and the concept of family and gender underlying them have been contested from within Catholicism by liberal theologians did not deter the critics, especially given that conservative forces do still exert a strong influence on politicians and are still predominant within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Leviste, “In the Name of Fathers,” 32, 35–36.

12 Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 39–40, 42; Lane, Sandra D., “From Population Control to Reproductive Health: An Emerging Policy Agenda,” Social Science and Medicine 39, no. 9 (1994): 1303–34. See also Dañguilan, Marilen J., Women in Brackets: A Chronicle of Vatican Power and Control (Pasig City: Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, 1997).

13 Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 7–8, 39–44.

14 Natividad, 7, 41; Jonathan Tseung-Hao Chow, “Religion, Politics and Sex: Contesting Catholic Teaching and Transnational Reproductive Health Norms in the Contemporary Philippines” (PhD dissertation, University of California, 2011), 137–41,; Abinales, Patricio N. and Amoroso, Donna J., State and Society in the Philippines (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), 266–76.

15 Abinales and Amoroso, State and Society in the Philippines, 277–79.

16 Chow, “Religion, Politics and Sex,” 143.

17 Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 166–69.

18 Austria, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies,” 99.

19 Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 7, 35.

20 Austria, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies,” 100–01; Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 34–35.

21 Erika M. Sales, “People, President and the Pulpit: The Politics of the Reproductive Health Bill of the Philippines” (master's thesis, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 2012), 18,

22 Austria, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies,” 100–02; Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 73. This discourse was based on the arguments of conservative Catholic groups such as Abayfamilya, which claimed that even contraceptives such as birth control pills were abortifacient, and “[i]n reversal of earlier findings by the previous administration's Health Secretary, the Bureau of Food and Drugs issued a decision … which stated that the 1987 Constitution defined pregnancy as beginning at ‘the moment of fertilization.’” Austria, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies,” 98. Reproductive health bills were thus condemned as anti-constitutional.

23 Austria, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies,” 100–01; Natividad, “Reproductive Politics,” 34–35.

24 Sales, “People, President and the Pulpit,” 18.

25 Benigno S. Aquino III, “Responsible Parenthood: The Five-Point Position on Responsible Parenthood of President Benigno S. Aquino III,” Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines, 2012, The position statement affirmed that the law prohibited abortion, that it protected life “beginning at conception and ending with natural death,” and that “natural family planning … would be presented as equally available.” See Sales, “People, President and the Pulpit,” 15–16, 33–35.

26 Moreover, romanticizing the past, he tried to present his politics as compatible with both the public mainstream and the predominant discourse that “Filipino identity and culture” were “by nature religious” (meaning Catholic). Austria, “The Church, the State and Women's Bodies,” 100.

27 Sales, “People, President and the Pulpit,” 15–18, 33–35.

28 This observation is based on extensive fieldwork between 2010 and 2014, when I conducted interviews with representatives of various political and ideological camps. See Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 43–51, 465–600.

29 Rodrigo Duterte, then vice mayor of Davao made the contents of the bill mandatory, which was consistent with his anti-Catholic stance. In contrast, in Ayala Alabang local government acts banning pharmacies from selling condoms were enforced. Sales, “People, President and the Pulpit,” 16.

30 Bernal, “SC Declares RH Law Constitutional”; Seemann, Benedikt, “President Aquino's Last Mile: An (Early) Assessment of His Presidency,” Country Reports (Manila: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, 2015),; see also Marc Jayson Cayabyab, “Supreme Court Derailed RH Law, Lagman Laments,”, January 13, 2017,

31 National Statistics Office, Philippines in Figures 2014 (Manila: Republic of the Philippines: National Statistic Office, 2014), 27. Other statistics count 84 percent Catholics, 11 percent Muslims, and 5 percent non-Catholic Christian groups, including ethnic religions and atheists. Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, “2013 International Religious Freedom Report” (US Department of State, 2013), 1–2,

32 Pew Research Center, “Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals” (Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, October 5, 2006), 4,; Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 93; Johnson, Todd M., “Counting Pentecostals Worldwide,” Pneuma 36, no. 2 (2014): 265–88, at 283–87.

33 Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 62–66. To highlight the extent to which these groups represented a threat to the political status quo, it is useful to note that, beginning with the 1990s, Mike Velarde and Villanueva were both under surveillance by international intelligence services, see Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 26–30, 101, 120. A third group is the so-called Oneness Pentecostals, whose trinity/triunity theology differs from the former, but who, nevertheless, are generally discussed in close relationship with Evangelical Pentecostals. To date, no influential umbrella organization has managed to unite Oneness Pentecostals in a significant way; rather, they work as single churches, often in lose affiliation with Philippines for Jesus. For the sake of brevity, I focus only on the first two groups. For a discussion of Oneness Pentecostals and reproductive health, see Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 487–91. For a recent historical account of Oneness Pentecostalism in the Philippines, see Johnny Loye King, “Spirit and Schism: A History of ‘Oneness Pentecostalism’ in the Philippines” (PhD dissertation, University of Birmingham, 2017).

34 For a brief overview of the links between Catholic hierarchy and political elites, see Leviste, “In the Name of Fathers,” 16–19.

35 Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 78; Roberto E. N. Rivera, “The Couples for Christ: Suborganizational Framing and Sociopolitical Mobilization in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal” (PhD dissertation, University of Notre Dame, 2008), 62–65, 238–39; Wiegele, Katharine L., Investing in Miracles: El Shaddai and the Transformation of Popular Catholicism in the Philippines (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005), 25, 50, 56; Wiegele, Katharine L., “Politics, Education and Civil Participation: Catholic Charismatic Modernities in the Philippines,” in Global Pentecostalism in the 21st Century, ed. Hefner, Robert W. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), 223250, at 242–43; Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 62–66, 123–37.

36 In 2013 I participated in various anti-reproductive health rallies organized by Couples for Christ and El Shaddai in Negros, Luzon, and Mindanao and spoke with a number of representatives about the competition within Catholic Pentecostalism.

37 On the culture of life/death rhetoric, see Bautista, Julius, “Church and State in the Philippines: Tackling Life Issues in a ‘Culture of Death,’Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 25, no. 1 (2010): 2953; Genilo, “The Catholic Church and the Reproductive Health Bill Debate,” 1050.

38 Jesuit scholar Eric Genilo notes that the few Catholic academics who articulated their dissent from the bishops’ position had only limited impact outside their immediate university circles. Most notably among them were fourteen faculty members based at the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, who, citing Catholic social teachings, argued “that the proposed law was consistent with the promotion of the common good” and released a statement titled “Catholics Can Support the RH Bill in Good Conscience,” and forty-five faculty members of the De la Salle University, run by the Brothers of the Christian School, who issued a similar position paper titled “The RH Bill is Pro-Life.” Genilo, “The Catholic Church and the Reproductive Health Bill Debate,” 1051.

39 The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches was founded in 1965 as a conservative counterpart to the recently established mainline Protestant National Council of Churches, which in turn has strong links to the World Council of Churches. Until the 1980s, statistics would subsume them under the labels fundamentalist or conservative Evangelicals. Barrett, David B., ed., World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Study of Churches and Religions in the Modern World, AD 1900–2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), 562–68.

40 Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 66–67.

41 See Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 478–83, 486–87.

42 The mainline Protestant churches, known to be decidedly vocal on political issues, also issued statements that contained an outspoken critique of the neoliberal narrative of “overpopulation” and “poverty” employed by President Aquino. See “Fullness of Life For All: A Continuing Commitment—A Statement in Support of the RH Bill,” NCCP: National Council of Churches in the Philippines (blog), October 12, 2011, (drafted by the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches); United Church of Christ in the Philippines, “UCCP: A Church Response to the Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development Act (House Bill 4244),” August 23, 2011. The Evangelical Council's statement, in contrast, expressed its unreserved support for the Aquino government. Further, and in contrast to mainline Protestant statements that ended in ecumenical-conciliar spirit toward “our Catholic brethren” (as in the abovementioned UCCP paper), the Evangelical Council's statement contained a clear anti-Catholic thrust.

43 Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, “Evangelical Churches Re-Echo Strong Support for Rh Bill,” August 5, 2012,

44 See Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Catholic Guidelines on Fundamentalism: Hold Fast to What Is Good (Manila: Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, 1989); Fort, Nicholas O., ed., Exploring the New Religious Movements in the Philippines: Documents of the National Consultation of the New Religious Movements in the Philippines, October 18–20, 1988 (Quezon City: Commission on Evangelism and Ecumenical Relations, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, 1989); Mercado, Leonardo N., “Muslim and Christian Fundamentalism in the Philippines,” Philippiniana Sacra 33, no. 97 (1998): 520.

45 See Marichu A. Villanueva, “Hostage Crisis My Defining Moment, GMA,” Philstar Global (blog), July 24, 2004,

46 Amita Legaspi, “New TESDA Chief Aims to Improve Agency's Image,” GMA News Online (blog), July 14, 2010,

47 Ma, Wonsuk, “Philippines for Jesus Movement,” in The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, ed. Burgess, Stanley M. and McGee, Gary B., rev. and exp. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 988; Wonsuk Ma, “Philippines,” in Burgess and McGee, The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, 201–07.

48 This came after Villanueva had established a minority party list called Citizen's Battle Against Corruption and had won one seat in Congress when his son Joel was elected a representative. See Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 134–50.

49 Bangon Pilipinas BP, “Official Website of Bangon Pilipinas,” Bangon Pilipinas, 2009,; Paterno II Esmaquel, “JIL's Bro Eddie Calls for ‘Revolution of Righteousness,’” Rappler, October 26, 2013,

50 Sophia Dedace, “Misuari Endorses Bro. Eddie, Runs as His Sulu Gubernatorial Bet,” GMA News Online (blog), February 11, 2010,; Maltese, Pentekostalismus, 174–75. Even the Marxist international policy group Focus on the Global South stated in 2010 “Of the candidates, [Brother] Eddie's platform on governance is the most elaborate, and also has concrete ideas on how to proceed and some timeline.” Chavez, Jenina Joy, “Rating the Candidates: Prosecution as Platform,” in Transitions: Focus on the Philippines 2010 Yearbook, ed. Militante, Clarissa (Quezon City: Focus on the Global South-Philippines, 2011), 2730, at 29; Pagbabago! People's Movement for Change PPMFC, “Voting for Change: Will the May 2010 Elections Deliver?,” Arkibong Bayan (blog), May 4, 2010, (website no longer available).

51 Eddie Villanueva and Bangon Pilipinas BP, “Stand of Bangon Pilipinas Party on the RH Bill,” Facebook, October 5, 2010,

52 A close look, however, shows that Villanueva did not abandon his critique of Aquino's neoliberal course; rather, Villanueva disguised his critique by diverting his attacks on the anti-reproductive health campaigns of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and stressing that present politics was still controlled by a few Catholic dynasties exploiting the population. In this way, he hit the Aquino administration indirectly and even admitted his sympathies with communist New People's Army guerillas who waged an armed struggle against the government; albeit he maintained that violent revolutionary actions would not make the Philippines a better place: “But you cannot blame the leftist people … Which I used to be one of them you know, I was just … my mental ability is too limited, that's why … ok let's fight, let's unite the masses and spread the ideology of National Democratic Revolution.” Eddie Villanueva, interview by the author, May 10, 2013, Tagbilaran. Further, and unlike other so-called religious candidates, he rarely employed biblical argumentations in public interviews but instead rationalized his politics along progressive ideas of social reform. Instead of wholly condemning the intrauterine device, as Catholic candidates did, he gave it conditional support. He stated that “as long as there is no new insight” regarding the question when exactly the device becomes operative in the beginning of human life process and how this relates to ethical issues, he would be in favor of encouraging couples to use it. Thus, he steered a middle way that prevented him from alienating his conservative religious core-public. In the same diplomatic way, he admitted that “grade 5 … is too young [for sex education],” yet in stark contrast to other candidates he left it up to a democratic debate to decide: “congress should study carefully what's the best age for young people to receive sex education.” Philippine Center for Population & Development and Daily Inquirer, “News—How They Stand on Population,” Philippine Center for Population & Development (blog), June 3, 2010,

53 The manifesto also included such apodictic statements as ‘[t]eaching children sex is naturally … vested on the parents and it is not in keeping with … constitutional principles for the State to teach the subject to young children within the Grade 5 Level” and a rejection of the intrauterine device as an abortifacient. Daniel A. Balais and Intercessors for the Philippines, “A Manifesto: Intercessors for the Philippines’ (IFP) Stand on the Rh Bill,” 2012, (website no longer available).

54 Department of Education [Philippines], “Kikay Kit: Kaalama't Impormasyon Sa Katawa't Kalusugan Nating Youth” [Vanity kit: Wise information about the body for young people] (no date).

55 Wyden King and NFS/M4NT, “Kingdom Politics 101,” February 5, 2013, 17 (author's private collection). This is part of the informally published materials circulated among the churches I studied. These include PowerPoint presentations and teaching materials for courses titled “Kingdom Politics 101,” “Politics 101,” “Christian Politics,” and the like, organized by the Movement for National Transformation, founded by Wyden King.

56 Recall that recent studies portray Pentecostals as “religiously intolerant,” escapist “populists,” who are indifferent to “issues of social justice.” See, for example, Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 115, 196.

57 King and NFS/M4NT, “Kingdom Politics 101,” 17.

58 “Build[ing] the Machinery” involved building up a “Mass Base in Urban and Rural Communities,” forming “tactic and strategic alliances,” determining the number of “command votes multiplied by cost of a vote,” and asking local politicians “for strategic positions … in appointed positions.” King and NFS/M4NT, “Kingdom Politics 101,” 62, 75, 82–83, 88, 90.

59 Mao Tse-tung used the concept of “mass line” to concretize the idea that a revolution must be for and from the people. Thus, the mobilization of the people (the masses) had to occur in a way that considered not just the needs and interests of the common people but also their mentality. This implied a three-stage process: first, studying the masses taking their unsystematic and scattered ideas and synthesizing them into systematic, concentrated ideas; second, going back to the masses, explaining and propagating the concentrated ideas until they embrace them as their own; and third, putting the concentrated ideas into action. Schram, Stuart R., “Mao Tse-Tung's Thought from 1949 to 1976,” in The Cambridge History of China, ed. Fairbank, John K. and MacFarquhar, Roderick, vol. 15, The People's Republic, Part 2, Revolutions within the Chinese Revolution, 1966–1982 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 1104, at 4.

60 King and NFS/M4NT, “Kingdom Politics 101,” 44, 41.

61 Leviste, “In the Name of Fathers,” 16, 29, 32–33.

62 An-Na'im, Abdullahi A., “Complementary, Not Competing Claims of Law and Religion: An Islamic Perspective,” Pepperdine Law Review 39, no. 5 (2013): 1231–56, at 1232.

63 Daldal, Asli, “Power and Ideology in Michel Foucault and Antonio Gramsci: A Comparative Analysis,” Review of History and Political Science 2, no. 2 (2014): 149–67, at 153, 155–56; Bates, Thomas R., “Gramsci and the Theory of Hegemony,” Journal of the History of Ideas 36, no. 2 (1975): 351–66, at 353, 356.

64 Laclau, Ernesto and Mouffe, Chantal, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, 2nd ed. (London: Verso, 2001), 139, see also 69.

65 Leviste, “In the Name of Fathers,” 34; Cornelio, Jayeel S., Being Catholic in the Contemporary Philippines: Young People Reinterpreting Religion (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016), 107–09.

66 Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 139.

67 See Priester, Karin, “Definitionen und Typologien des Populismus” [Definitions and Typologies of Populism], Soziale Welt 62, no. 2 (2011): 185–98, at 193–95; Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 14–20.

68 Ernesto Laclau, On Populist Reason (London: Verso, 2007), 117; Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 14–29, 180–197.

69 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 117, 164

70 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 117, 200; Moffitt, Benjamin and Tormey, Simon, “Rethinking Populism: Politics, Mediatisation and Political Style,” Political Studies 62, no. 2 (2014): 381–97, at 384.

71 “The place of the negation is defined by the internal parameters of the formation itself.” Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 139.

72 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 69–72, 101–17; see also Laclau, Ernesto, Emancipation(s) (London: Verso, 1996), 3646.

73 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 65.

74 Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 112–13.

75 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 69.

76 Laclau, 69.

77 Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 112–13.

78 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 70.

79 Laclau, 69.

80 Laclau, 71.

81 Laclau, 71.

82 Laclau, 71.

83 Laclau and Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy, 129.

84 Marchart, Oliver, Die Politische Differenz: Zum Denken des Politischen bei Nancy, Lefort, Badiou, Laclau und Agamben [The Political Difference: Thinking the political in Nancy, Lefort, Badiou, Laclau and Agamben] (Berlin: Suhrkamp, 2010), 191–92; Bergunder, Michael, “What Is Religion? The Unexplained Subject Matter of Religious Studies,” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 26, no. 3 (2014): 246286, at 263.

85 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 70, 101–17.

86 Laclau, Ernesto, New Reflections on the Revolution of Our Time (London: Verso, 1990), 34; Worsham, Lynn and Olson, Gary A., “Hegemony and the Future of Democracy: Ernesto Laclau's Political Philosophy,” in Race, Rhetoric, and the Postcolonial, ed. Olson, Gary A. and Worsham, Lynn (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), 146.

87 Laclau, New Reflections, 35; see also Marchart, Die Politische Differenz, 206.

88 Laclau, “Hegemony and the Future,” 146.

89 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 69–72, 101–17; see also Laclau, Emancipation(s), 36–46.

90 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 65.

91 Laclau, 70, 95, 231.

92 Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 180–97.

93 Laclau, On Populist Reason, 153, 231.

94 Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 153, 9–14.

95 See Bergunder, “What Is Religion?”

96 Or it imposes on them to “translate” their discourse into to the language of secularism, presupposing “the secular” to be exterior to “the religious” as does Habermas, Jürgen, Zwischen Naturalismus und Religion: Philosophische Aufsätze [Between naturalism and religion: Philosophical essays] (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 2005), 119–54. For a critique, see the works of Talal Asad and Saba Mahmood on the elitism and Eurocentrism of such a concept of the secular. Asad, Talal, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993); Asad, Talal, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003); Mahmood, Saba, Religious Difference in a Secular Age: A Minority Report (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016). For an alternative approach, see Bergunder, “What Is Religion?”

97 An-Na'im, “Decolonizing Human Rights.”

98 Asad, Talal, Brown, Wendy, Butler, Judith, and Mahmood, Saba, “Preface, 2013,” in Is Critique Secular? Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech, ed. Asad, Talal et al. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), viixx, at xvi.

99 Neubert, Frank, Die Diskursive Konstitution von Religion [The discursive constitution of religion] (Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2016), 116–20.

100 Kessler and Rüland, Give Jesus a Hand!, 153.

101 Habermas, Jürgen, “Glauben und Wissen—Dankesrede” [Belief and knowledge—Acceptance Speech] in Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels [Peace Award of the German Book Trade] (Berlin: Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, 2001), 9-15, at 13.


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