Posts Tagged ‘religious persecution’


Robert P. George on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom

What could be better than a discussion of international religious liberty combined with banjo music? Prof. Robert P. George of Princeton University discusses his role on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), various threats to the universal rights of conscience around the globe, and how he views the theory of natural law in his policy work. While this is a very serious and heavy topic, we lighten things up at the very end as Robby entertains us with some banjo pickin’ with his band, Blue Heart.

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Donald Kraybill on The Amish and Old Order Mennonites

One of the most distinctive and recognizable Christian groups in the United States are the Amish. But how much do we really know about this group? Prof. Don Kraybill, a noted scholar on Old Order Mennonites and Anabaptists, provides us with a historical background of the Amish and the related “horse and buggy” Mennonites. We also discuss their theology, ethnic/cultural practices, demographics, and economics. Along the way, we explode many of the myths and stereotypes in this wonderfully comprehensive interview.

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David Smith on Episodic Religious Persecutions

Despite being a nation prided upon religious freedom, the United States has witnessed several episodes of intense persecution of religious minorities. Prof. David Smith (University of Sydney) discusses why these episodic violations of civil liberties happen with specific reference to the Latter Day Saints in the mid-19th century and the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 20th century. He links these (and other) events to the threat that they generate towards the political status quo. We also discuss how this may relate to harassment of Catholics, Jews, and Muslims in US history over the past two centuries.

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Mark Koyama on the Economics of Jewish Expulsions

Prof. Mark Koyama of George Mason University explains why King Edward I expelled the Jews from England in July of 1290, giving them only three months to leave. Rather than focusing on anti-semitism or explanations based upon “greed,” Prof. Koyama shows how changes in feudal revenue collection during the 13th century led to a devaluation of the moneylending role that Jews played in the English economy and how expulsion represented a credible signal to the ever-rebellious lower nobility. He generalizes this explanation to help us understand why further expulsions of Jews occured in continental Europe in the subsequent centuries.

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Kevin Cooney on Christianity in Japan

Prof. Kevin Cooney of Northwest University gives us a general perspective of what spiritual life is like in Japan, focusing first on Shintoism and Buddhism, but then exploring the hidden history of Christianity. He discusses the suprisingly early arrival of the “Nestorian Church,” followed several hundred years later by Jesuit missionaries. What happens when the Catholic Church is forced to go underground and how does the opening of Japan to the West and then its imperialist phase impact Christianity? We also explore where Christianity sits today in Japan and how religion relates to fertility rates.

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Rodney Stark on the Triumph of Christianity, Part 1

How does a small group of invididuals in a religiously-hostile environment build a sectarian movement of Judaism into the world’s largest faith tradition? Prof. Rodney Stark (Baylor) discusses the important sociological ingredients for Christianity’s success in the first three centuries of its existence. We examine the religious landscape at the time of Jesus’s birth (including both paganism and Judaism), as well as the sometimes surprising role of that mercy, persecution, wealthy individuals, and gender played in the growth of Christianity.

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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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Thomas Farr on Religion, Religious Liberty & US Diplomacy

Prof. Thomas Farr discusses the important role of religion and religious liberty in foreign relations. Dr. Farr brings both a scholar’s insight and his experience as a 21 year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service and recent director of the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom. We examine why American diplomats have often had a blind spot for religious issues and then turn our discussion to why promoting religious liberty is in the national security interest of the United States (and other nations).

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Roger Finke on Religious Persecution

Roger Finke of Penn State University talks with Tony about the prevalence and reasons for religious persecution around the globe. We explore the connectcions between seemingly small violations of religious liberty and religious persecution. Prof. Finke further argues that even small violations of religious liberty can presage greater threats to a wider set of civil liberties. Our discussion covers all regions of the globe, with a focus on Japan, Nigeria, Iran, Russia, France and the United States.

Listerners are encouraged to email the host and let him know you are listening and to provide feedback (good or bad). The host’s email is: tgill (at) uw (dot) edu

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Catherine Wanner on Religion in Russia

The history of religion in Russia and the Ukraine from the Bolshevik Revolution to present is the topic of discussion with Catherine Wanner, associate professor of history, anthropology and religious studies at the Pennsylvania State University. How did religious life under communism condition the religious landscape of these two countries today? (To download, right click on the button to the right and choose “save target as….”)

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