Roger Finke on Religious Persecution
Date: January 3rd, 2011
Roger Finke — professor of sociology and religious studies at Penn State University and director of The Association of Religion Data Archives — takes us on a journey around the globe to discover how and why religious persecution arises in some nations but not others. Based on his book The Price of Freedom Denied (co-authored with Brian Grim), Prof. Finke makes the argument that religious liberty is a vital component of all civil liberties in society. He makes the case that small violations of religious freedom (often in the form of seemingly innocuous regulations) can open the door to an erosion of other freedoms and invite various forms of religious persecution. We detail some of these regulations focusing on the importance of registration requirements for religious groups. Also, Roger challenges an interpretation of Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” theses, claiming that it is not the presence of two different religious cultures within a nation that automatically gives rise to conflict, but rather the various laws that regulate different faith traditions that sets the table for whether or not conflict (and persecution) will arise. We pepper our discussion with examples from France, Russia, China, Japan, Iran, Nigeria and the United States. In closing, we discuss one of Roger’s most valuable contributions to academia — The ARDA. Far from being just a clearinghouse for religious databases, this website offers the public the opportunity to explore religion around the world in a remarkably user-friendly interface. Listeners are encouraged to give it a try! Recorded: December 16, 2010.
Listeners are asked to contact the host to let him know you are listening and to share your comments and suggestions about the podcast. tgill (at) uw (dot) edu
Roger Finke’s website at Penn State University.
The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century by Brian J. Grim and Roger Finke.
The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) at Penn State University. Try it out!
International Religious Freedom Reports (at the U.S. Department of State).
A World Survey of Religion and the State by Jonathan Fox.
The Political Origins of Religious Liberty by Anthony Gill.
Catherine Wanner on Religion in Russia.
Karrie Koesel on Religion & Politics in China.