Religion and the United Nations-Introduction

By Weiner, Matthew | Cross Currents, September 2010 | Go to article overview

Religion and the United Nations-Introduction


Weiner, Matthew, Cross Currents


This special issue of CrossCurrents is dedicated to exploring the relationship between religion and the United Nations, with an emphasis on providing positive examples of potential and actual interaction, and making an argument in favor of developing partnerships between the world's governing body and the world's religious communities. As importantly, if not more so, we also hope that the articles collected here will provide a platform for further discussion and action among UN staff, scholars of religion, and religious communities themselves. To our knowledge, there has been little documented in terms of this kind of three-way discussion, much to the disadvantage of all parties involved.

This short introduction will explain our basic orientation to the topic of religion at the UN, the thinking behind our designating these primary categories and the article selection within, as well as provide a compass for following the arrangement of the articles that follow. The conclusion will provide a more detailed historical framework and analysis.

When the co-editors first began thinking about this topic, there was relatively little in the way of official initiatives within the UN system to engage religion, and yet paradoxically religion was everywhere in its midst. Indeed, as the UN was conceived, scholars of religion and religious workers advocated for a spiritual and religious voice at the world governing body; there was little in the way of direct and official response. In this way, the official current involvement of many internal UN agencies demonstrates decisively the growing pragmatic awareness of and interest in the role religion can play in fulfilling its mission, however yet still under construction.

Although not organized discretely, the articles that follow fall into three broad categories: first is a set of articles authored by scholars of religion who argue for, and in some cases about, the role of religion at the UN. They do so mostly around issues of peace building, and we have chosen this focus to complement other pieces which come from UN program staff that are located in particular agencies that deal more discretely with social and humanitarian problems. Collectively, these articles provide both more abstract perspectives about the moral role of religion in peace building and the place of religion in civil society as it interfaces with the UN. They also provide a variety of particular perspectives that distinct religious traditions have to offer when it comes to peace building through the UN's auspices.

The second set of articles are examples of Religious Non-Governmental Organizations, more commonly referred to as faith-based organizations (FBOs), at work with the UN. The world governing body is, of course, a collection of nation states, steered by a collective process among them; it is also a set of connected agencies that address particular urgent human needs. As a kind of federated system, it inherently recognizes the need for diversity, debate, and input from sources other than nation states, including civil society. It does so primarily through NGOs, tens of thousands of which, with very different mission statements, register with the UN, with a goal of influence. What influence is understood, of course varies. While UN agencies seek to reach religious communities to fulfill their work, FBOs serve as a primary way (but not the only way) that religion officially works with, and impacts, the work of the UN. There are thousands of FBOs both locally situated and international, with diverse missions, all of which seek some way to interact with the UN to fulfill their own religious or spiritual mission.

The articles in the third section explain some of the ways in which UN agencies have begun to engage religion. These are personal reflections by program staff members at the UN who are, through their work as described here, helping to engineer a posture toward religious nongovernmental entities in ways which help them to better fulfill their particular agency's objectives. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Religion and the United Nations-Introduction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.