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The relationship between law and religion can be imagined as a conjunction or a disjunction. Beginning with the suggestion that the terms “law” and “religion,” when their meaning has not been taken for granted, have become too invested with ideological weight, as a result of debates over secularism, to be of much use for analytical purposes, this essay substitutes a series of alternative dichotomies: among others, auctoritas versus potestas, the constituting versus the constituted power, and charisma versus law. Examining the history and interplay of such categories, I suggest that such dualities often describe the dynamic tension between sovereignty and legality that defines an existing order. Special attention is given to the historical examples of the pardon power and the Pauline opposition between charis and nomos, as well as to David Daube’s argument that redemption in biblical traditions was a sacralized legal concept. Through a series of thought experiments, I suggest that law and religion may be understood in some cases as twins, born together and inseparable, just as law cannot be fully distinguished from sovereignty.
The conventional approach to law and religion assumes that these are competing domains, which raises questions about the freedom of, and from, religion; alternate commitments of religion and human rights; and respective jurisdictions of civil and religious courts. This volume moves beyond this competitive paradigm to consider law and religion as overlapping and interrelated frameworks that structure the social order, arguing that law and religion share similar properties and have a symbiotic relationship. Moreover, many legal systems exhibit religious characteristics, informing their notions of authority, precedent, rituals and canonical texts, and most religions invoke legal concepts or terminology. The contributors address this blurring of law and religion in the contexts of political theology, secularism, church-state conflicts, and the foundational idea of divine law.
There is a tendency, at least among secular readers, to bracket off Dante’s faith as something no longer true, something to which we no longer subscribe. Yet that would seem to miss not just an aspect of the Divine Comedy, but its central point. The episodes in the Inferno this volume focuses on, paradigmatic for the whole work, point to a problem of faith – lack of a shared belief, misreadings of important stories, failed allegiance, and broken promises. But it is the choice of Virgil as a guide, lost because of his belief in “false and lying gods,” that teaches us how to read ancient books whose culture we no longer share. How indeed can we believe in them?
Having documented the uneven and combined developmental trajectories of Britain and France, in this chapter I will begin to explore the significance of Jacobinism for our understanding of the rise of multiple modernities outside Western Europe. To this end, I seek to identify the precise nature and concrete outcome of the "combined" character of Ottoman modernization. It shows that the late Ottoman Empire can neither be understood as a "patrimonial state" nor can it be conceptualized as a "peripheral capitalism." Instead, the end result of the Ottoman experiment with modernity was a historically specific Jacobinism that combined and bypassed capitalism (and socialism) based on an alternative form of property and sociality.
A marked feature of the contemporary U.S. constitutional landscape is the campaign by an Evangelical-Catholic coalition against the idea of secularism, understood by this alliance to mean the exclusion of religion from the state and its progressive marginalization from social life. Departing from the tendency to treat this project as a national phenomenon, this article places it within a longer global genealogy of an earlier international Christian ecumenical effort to combat secularism. The triumph of that campaign culminated in the making of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, now considered the paradigmatic international legal provision on religious liberty. Article 18’s protection of the rights to proselytize and convert, I argue, was a product of an impassioned contestation between an ecumenical movement keen on securing the prerogative to spread the gospel to the non-Christian world and a secularism in a strange alliance with Islam in the region that held the greatest promise for the evangelical enterprise—Muslim Africa. In excavating the genealogy of ecumenical thought as it developed a critique of the so-called secularist threat, I recover the delicate links between the contemporary U.S. anti-secular campaign and the earlier ecumenical efforts.
Focusing on Rajeev Bhargava's claim that Aśoka was a secularist avant-la-lettre, I dispute the common understanding of secularism as the separation of religion and politics, and argue instead that such separation, to the extent that it existed, was characteristic of traditional religious societies. I then offer an alternative history of secularism as the demise of the traditional balance of power between church and state, and the rise of a unitary state which incorporated a civil religion that excluded competing forms of religiosity within its domain. This model of secularism, exemplified by the seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, fits Aśoka's Dhamma better than the separationist model does.
Recent work in religious studies has emphasized how European colonial empires used the defining and constructing of religions and secularism as tools of rule. This article explores parallel processes in the Mongol empire (1206–1368) where ‘religion-making’ occurred in three areas: 1) a precise and legal definition of professional service estates among the conquered peoples that included the clergies of designated religions; 2) a broad and imprecise classification of nom or ‘way of life’ that partially overlapped with the clergies defined in the first category; and 3) a realm above all such sectarian distinctions destined for the Mongol ruling elite who alone were capable of living in free obedience to Heaven. The parallels and differences with classifications of the religious and the secular in European colonial empires shed light on how power interacts with cultural classification and practices.
If democratic planning was to become a mass movement, as the government hoped, it would require the voluntary participation of Indian citizens. Chapter 5 examines how, in the absence of spontaneous participation, the state supported voluntary organizations to spread the message of the Five Year Plans and offer services toward their fulfilment. It analyses the paradox of the state intervening to stimulate voluntary support for its policies. The chapter traces efforts to involve youths through College and University Planning Forums, and other social groups through the Bharat Sewak Samaj (Service to India Society). It also analyses a curious experiment—the enigmatic Bharat Sadhu Samaj (Indian Society of Ascetics). A brainchild of Gulzarilal Nanda, the devout Minister for Planning, its goal was to publicize the Plans using Hinduism as a resource. The attempt reveals how the Nehruvian state propagated Five Year Plans—the very symbol of secular technocracy and scientific modernity—using saffron-robed Hindu monks and ascetics. The startling long-term fallout of this project was the Sadhu Samaj’s drift towards Hindu nationalism. Ultimately, this religious venture underlines the awkward relationship and largely failed wedding of technocratic and democratic dimensions of planning.
This chapter explores the relationship between democracy and Christianity through the lens of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. As Tocqueville noted, unlike the European nations of his own day where the forces of democracy and proponents of religion were at odds, the United States in the 1830s is characterized by a harmony between religion and democracy. Tocqueville sees a number of ways in which these two forces may be mutually supportive. First and most importantly, Tocqueville regards Christianity and its affirmation of the equality of all human beings as an important source for democracy. He also finds American religion to be supportive of democratic government in the sense that it counters democratic tendencies toward cultural mediocrity, the tyranny of the majority, the pathologies of individualism, and secular materialism. Not only is Christianity necessary for the formation of democratic governments, in Tocqueville’s view, but their long-term flourishing requires a certain moderation on the part of religious believers. While it might seem that Christianity is the only religion capable of preserving democracy, a closer reading of Democracy in America would suggest otherwise.
Part I is about the social origins of people who became fixers in 2010s Turkey and Syria. Some were refugees from Syria’s civil war or journalists ousted from Turkey’s domestic press as the Turkish state successively captured opposition outlets; these prospective fixers turned to work with the international media for the promise of stability. Others came from non-journalism backgrounds but, inspired by developments such as Turkey’s “Kurdish Opening” or the 2013 Gezi Park protest movement, found in fixing the opportunity to pursue adventurous and idealistic aspirations. Fixers of different backgrounds help foreign reporters in different ways: some provide insider access to local events and people, while others help their clients to make sense of phenomena from an outsider perspective.
This chapter examines the contested concept of constitutional identity in the comparative constitutional law literature and situates it in the specific jurisdictional context of Nepal. In particular, the analysis concentrates on the foundational function of constitutions and explores the relationship between constitutionalism, identity politics, and constitutional design. Nepal is an ideal case study for exploring the notion of constitutional identity because it sits uneasily within the traditional taxonomies used in the discipline. For instance, Nepal is the only South Asian country that was never colonised and whose legal system does not operate in English, but in the country’s national language, Nepali. This unusual level of historical continuity in the process of nation-building has complicated the construction of constitutional identity, as demonstrated by the embattled historical relationship between the Shah-centered “national monarchy” and democracy, the enduring and controversial position of Hinduism in the constitutional framework, and the patterns of legal discrimination on the basis of identity that persist in the new 2015 constitution.
The first section of this Element reviews the history of LGBTQ rights in the region since the 1960s. The second section reviews explanations for the expansion of rights and setbacks, especially since the mid 2000s. Explanations are organized according to three themes: (1) the (re-)emergence of a religious cleavage; (2) the role of political institutions such as presidential leadership, political parties, federalism, courts, and transnational forces; and (3) the role of social movement strategies, and especially, unity. The last section compares the progress on LGBTQ rights (significant) with reproductive rights (insignificant). This Element concludes with an overview of the causes and possible future direction of the current backlash against LGBTQ rights.
The worldwide exportation of the nation-state went hand in hand with the diffusion of the Western concept of religion, both of which are notably related to the expansion of the Westphalian order. Exploring the diffusion of the twin concepts of nation-state and religion intersects with two bodies of knowledge: nationalism and secularization. Combining them helps explain why and how religion and politics influence each other. Historical institutionalism and conceptual history are used to establish areas of politicization of religion in the qualitative phase of the research and to identify patterns in big data bases in the quantitative phase of the research. This approach is applied to the politicization of religion in Syria, Turkey, India, China and Russia.
The main domains of Indian politics intersecting with religion are communal riots, elections and secular laws. To respond to ‘why and how’ religion matters in Indian politics, the chapter analyses the national habitus shared by all political and religious elites which was conceived both as Hindu and secular, therefore clashing with the people’s identification at the local level where class, cultural and religious allegiances were at play. The redefinition of the local communities along religious lines introduced by the nation-state is a critical factor in the rise of riots and of the BJP. The rise of Hindu nationalism, the contestation of national history, the sacred sites, and the status of women are analysed as main sites of politicization.
At the core of the politicization of Islam is the territorialization of Islamic belonging, which during the nation-building phase has manifested itself in ways previously unknown in the former Muslim Empires. This territorialization was combined with the elimination of religious and cultural diversity, leading to a specific form of religious nationalism called hegemonic. The genealogical investigation shows the conceptual and institutional changes that constitute the bedrock of the current manifestations of Political Islam from the last phase of the Ottoman Empire to the current national situations. Areas of politicization in Syria and Turkey are presented from the inception of the nation-state to today’s civil war in Syria and the role of Turkey. These areas cover the status of sharia in state law, the boundaries of the secular space, the status of political violence, and the influence of regional and transnational political and religious actors.
Cesari argues that both religious and national communities are defined by the three Bs: belief, behaviour and belonging. By focusing on the ways in which these three Bs intersect, overlap or clash, she identifies the patterns of the politicization of religion, and vice versa, in any given context. Her approach has four advantages: firstly, it combines an exploration of institutional and ideational changes across time, which are usually separated by disciplinary boundaries. Secondly, it illustrates the heuristic value of combining qualitative and quantitative methods by statistically testing the validity of the patterns identified in the qualitative historical phase of the research. Thirdly, it avoids reducing religion to beliefs by investigating the significance of the institution-ideas connections, and fourthly, it broadens the political approach beyond state-religion relations to take into account actions and ideas conveyed in other arenas such as education, welfare, and culture.
This article examines the development of a Marxian frame for the critique of religion in twentieth century Iranian political thought by Taqi Erāni and Bizhan Jazani. It argues that, following Marx, Erāni and Jazani understand religion to be a superstructural relic from an earlier stage of human development which will gradually and inevitably withdraw from collective human life as a consequence of the material dialectics of history. It further shows that Erāni and Jazani consider religion to be instrumental in sustaining relations of oppression, and they view with skepticism attempts to reform religion or to use religious faith as an instrument for mass mobilization in revolutionary struggles.