Posts Tagged ‘democracy’


Does America Need a Christian Democratic Party?

With all the tumult in the American political landscape recently, is the United States pump primed for a Christian Democratic party similar to those in Europe? Three scholars debate this topic based upon a scholarly symposium published in the journal “Perspectives on Political Science.” Prof. Hunter Baker (Union University), the organizer of the symposium, argues that the time is right for Christian Democracy in America. Prof. Bryan McGraw (Wheaton College) notes that while Christian Democracy (CD) was helpful in Europe for consolidating democracy during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the conditions in the U.S. are not ripe for CD. Finally, Prof. Micah Watson (Calvin College) takes a decidedly negative position towards the concept of CD. Your host, Tony, chimes in with his own thoughts at the end.

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Clark Lombardi on Sharia Law

What is sharia law? And how are governments working them into their constitutions in contemporary Muslim societies? Prof. Clark Lombardi (University of Washington Law School) tackles these questions and several more in an informative discussion of the history and contemporary application of sharia law. He contrasts and compares canon and common law with sharia and has reflections on how this all affects good governance.

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Paul Kubicek on Islam, Political Islam, and Democracy

Can democratic governance on a national scale coincide with Islam? Prof. Paul Kubicek (Oakland University) takes us on a comparative journey to show where predominately Islamic populations have existed successfully with democracy. While much of media and scholarly attention on the topic of Islam and democracy has focused on the Middle East, Paul discusses the interesting cases of Turkey, Senegal, Mali, and Tunisia, while also noting some of the difficulties in democratic transitions in places such as Bangladesh. He also shares his reflections on the Arab Spring.

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Religious Freedom & Political Flourishing: A Panel Discussion

On October 10, 2013, a distinguished panel of scholars gathered at Georgetown University to discuss the relationship between religious liberty to political freedom and social flourishing. Sponsored by the Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and moderated by Prof. Timothy Shah, the panelists included Dan Philpott (Notre Dame), Nukhet Sandal (Ohio U), Ani Sarkissian (Michigan State), and Tony Gill (U of Washington). They examine issues whether democracies can suppress religious liberty and still remain democratic, whether increases in religious liberty can promote other civil liberties, and whether religious freedom can facilitate transitions from authoritarianism.

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Joel Fetzer on Confucianism and Democracy

Max Weber once argued that Confucianism did not lend itself to liberal democracy because of its allegiance to social hierarchy and harmony. Prof. Joel Fetzer of Pepperdine University examines this claim with evidence based upon the recent democratization of Taiwan. He argues that although Confucianism was not a cause of the recent democratization, the philosophy is flexible enough to allow for compatability with a variety of democratic norms including indigenous and women’s rights. We also examine the cases of South Korea, China, and Singapore.

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Robert Delahunty on Alexis de Tocqueville and Religion

Prof. Robert Delahunty (University of St. Thomas) discusses the life and thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, particularly as it pertains to his views on religion and democracy. We discuss Tocqueville’s personal religious history and how this influenced his thought, as well as the observations he made with respect to the role of religion in a newly-formed democratic nation. Prof. Delahunty explores Tocqueville’s thoughts on church-state relations and the role of civil religion in comparison with Niccolo Machiavelli, and we reflect upon what Tocqueville’s observations recorded in America’s Jacksonian Era tell us about the role of religion in the U.S. today.

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Ron Mock on Pacifism, War, and Terrorism

In light of the eleventh anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks and recent assaults on US diplomatic missions overseas, we explore the topic of Christian pacifism in the face of terrorism with Prof. Ron Mock of George Fox University. To exploare the roots and extent of his pacifist beliefs, we ask Prof. Mock whether or not he would have fought during the American War of Independence, which in turn leads to a discussion of his own pacifist background. We then discuss a number of philosophical issues related to pacificism in the abstract and the apply them to the topic of terrorism, discussion why Prof. Mock believes that the recent actions of the US (including drone strikes) have been counter-productive and what strategy would be more appropriate. This podcast was recorded on September 14, 2012.

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Jonathan Fox on Religion & State Around the World

What does the relationship between religious groups and the state look like around the world? Prof. Jonathan Fox of Bar Ilan University talks about the findings that have come from his expansive data collection and research exploration into the nature of religion and politics around the world. We discuss how religious organizations are regulated by governments in different parts of the globe and whether or not — and how — religious groups offer the state legitimacy and vice versa.

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Robert Woodberry on Missionaries and Democracy

Did Protestant missionaries help plant the seeds of democracy throughout the world? Prof. Robert Woodberry takes us on a historical tour-de-force around the globe showing how “conversionary Protestants” helped to promote literacy, spread printing technology, facilitate civic organization, defend religious and civil liberties, and protest the abuses of slavery and colonialism. We discuss how this happened and why Protestants were uniquely situated to do this, although we look at similar Catholic efforts in recent decades. We conclude with speculative thoughts about the Arab Spring.

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Allen Hertzke on Religious Liberty

Prof. Allen Hertzke of the University of Oklahoma joins us to discuss religious liberty around the world. We cover why religious liberty has become an increasingly important issue in foreign affairs and why many intellectual and government elites tend to dismiss its importance. The conversation also includes current threats to religious freedoms in many parts of the world and what positive effects might arise from the spread of religious liberties.

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