Secularism & Church/State Rel
This course discusses theories about regulating engagements between religion and politics. Religious organizations and governing powers can benefit from neutral restraints preventing each side from dominating the other. Secularism in principle offers a third option besides the government controlling religion (tyranny) and a religion controlling government (theocracy). A variety of secularisms are surveyed around the world, where types of separations between church from state have developed within different socio-cultural contexts. The experiences of France, USA, Turkey, Israel, India, and China, along with a selection of additional nations, are represented. Historical, anthropological, sociological, political, philosophical, and theological perspectives contribute to studies of secular institutions adopting religious functions and religions responding to rising secularity. By our time, the civil peace promised by secularism has only been partially realized. Religious adherents can use voting in elections, mobilizing in protests, and even terrorizing violence to get preferential treatment from their governments. Secularist voices can sound intolerant towards all religion and hostile to religious freedoms, thereby threatening rather than defending core democratic values such as individualism, diversity, and pluralism. Re-designed compromises between religious and secularist agendas now require global attention.
Note: This is a hybrid course. Please connect with program staff via email@example.com if you have questions related to modality. This course is open to MALS and DLS students.