Religion and Politics

Article excerpt

The last years have seen an impressive rise of the role of religion in many countries. Free elections seem increasingly to be used by religious political groups to advance their political agenda, which seems a rule opposed to the separation of State and Church practiced in the Western liberal democracies. The Danish Mahomet cartoons and the reaction they encountered in many Muslim countries have brought to forefront fresh issues of the role of religion in global politics. What has caused this unprecedented wave of identity politics? Is radical Islamism turning into a new anti-Western ideology as Marxism-Leninism was? What is instrumental, and what is primordial in the drive towards religion as a political factor? What explains the appeal of this new ideology? What role should institutions, such as secular political parties and established Churches play in this debate? Is the secular model of state under threat?

Traditionally, there different approaches were used to discuss this topic in social science. The first is the developmental perspective, practiced by classic authors such as Max Weber and S.M. Lipset. The second is the normative perspective of political theory. …

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