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Their talk gained Clinton his support. Clinton may not trumpet her faith on the stump as much as some candidates do, but she knows how to use it to connect with people.

The book offers new or rarely explored insights into the relationship between religion and politics from the early 20th century to the present—from church and state responses to the New Deal to the rise of the Religious Right in the s. As a candidate, John F. Kennedy shown at a presidential prayer breakfast downplayed his faith. By the s, the Religious Right, championed by Jerry Falwell shown with President Ronald Reagan in , was a major force in politics, pushing candidates to wear their faith more openly. When Jefferson was running for president, elections were very different from what they are today.

Voting was heavily restricted largely to wealthy white males and political parties were not as established as they are now. As waves of Catholics began arriving from Europe in the early s, religious tensions boiled. That suspicion lessened over time and with restrictions on mass immigration, says Schulman, but it was still potent enough to force John F. Kennedy Hon. Bush Hon.

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Today, most Americans want a president of faith. In a Pew Research Center survey, 53 percent of Americans said they would be less likely to support a presidential candidate who does not believe in God. As recent elections have shown, they also expect presidential candidates to talk about their personal faith. Democrats now have learned from that, and they talk about religion a lot. We can expect candidates to continue to play the faith card in A lineup including Mike Huckabee an ordained Southern Baptist minister and Ted Cruz and Ben Carson both sons of ministers guarantees strong testimonies of faith and plenty of references to God and morality.

But candidates like these have to be careful: talking too much about religion and morals could cost them the Oval Office. The boost that the culture war gave right-leaning politicians after the s contributed to the partisan politicking we see today, says Schulman. One squabble we can expect to see in the election concerns American exceptionalism—the idea that the US has a unique role to play in history and in the world.

Sparta, Rome vs. Carthage, for example. It might be fairly argued that the absence of a Western revenge-motivated foreign policy, coupled with the open hand held out to Russia and the other states of the ex-Soviet Union, made possible the peaceful dissolution of the "evil empire," rather that a desperate struggle which could have precipitated a nuclear conflict.

The West's Judeo-Christian tradition was an important factor in the emergence of such a policy. To enter into interfaith dialog, people need to know their own faith deeply, and be able to apply it appropriately. Concurrently learning about other faiths gives a necessary comparative perspective almost totally lacking in many places today. Understanding about, and communicating with, other faiths helps significantly in avoiding or minimizing demonization of "the other.

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Many communities have interfaith committees where this sort of dialog is already underway. Similar discussions are growing between regional and national levels of different faiths.


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Of course, theologians have been at it for years, and the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago prepares excellent material for study groups and serves as a venue for religious leaders to deal with ecumenical issues and the interaction of religious groups. Bede Griffiths, an English Benedictine who ran an ashram in India for 30 years until his death in , spoke of a "Perennial Philosophy" which is present in all religions.

In his landmark book, A New Vision of Reality: Western Science, Eastern Mysticism, and Christian Faith, he asserts that the world's religious traditions are interrelated, and that each has its own insights.

Commenting just before his death in , Fr. Bede said, "The deeper you go, the more all religions are alike. As a basis for planetary co-existence, Griffiths' work provides an excellent starting point, particularly for de-demonizing the "other" as well as exploring bases of common interest and agreement.

In fact, much practical work has already been done in this area across religious lines, particularly among Middle Eastern groups. Some practical implications are spelled out in the case chapters of Religion, the Missing Dimension of Statecraft. These show that certain moral and social characteristics of religious communities uniquely equip them to promote religious peace. Interfaith dialog is often aimed at an ecumenical outcome, bringing churches together. But this tends to water down doctrine to the point that it looses the sacred authority behind it, as the World Council of Churches tends to do.

Contemporary views of international affairs deserve a little analysis also. With some exceptions, religion is not dealt with in a particularly sophisticated manner, nor extensively.

Where We've Been and Where We're Headed

Thomas Friedman posits religion as one of the principal driving forces behind opposition to globalization, but gives it little other than a nod for positive contributions to the values discussion. Robert Kaplan described the blossoming of chaos in the world, but says little about how religion contributes or impedes that process. Perhaps the most widely known world analysis, Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, suggests that future struggles will be fought out between civilizations based on religion, equating religion with civilization, and hence the principal source of endemic conflict.

This has a certain ring of truth, but a closer, deeper look at world religions suggests that his broad brush fails to deal with some important differences. For example, Christianity is not confined to his "West;" Islam is not confined to "the Middle East;" nor are Confucianism and Buddhism limited to a single area. Max Singer and Aaron Wildavsky, in The Real World Order: Zones of Peace, Zones of Turmoil, posit a much more pluralist, less platonic world, one less centralized with more scope for individual and national initiative.


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Aside from a comment on the return of religion to Russia, however, these authors do not even deal with the larger issues posed by religious clashes-in fact, part of their point is to suggest that these may be irrelevant. These studies, however, may be useful in providing a general look at the world to those of faith who are not International Relations specialists. For if the diplomats, politicians, and many citizens know little about religion, Many of those deeply occupied with religion are similarly uninformed about the world of politics.

Many of us in academia encounter this when speaking before church groups, and are seldom invited to address theological conclaves. What is clear is that we need a higher level of understanding and interaction all around.

Christian Evangelicals and U.S. Foreign Policy

One's views determine how one is likely to apply one's faith and whether and how one is likely to attempt in, and succeed at, diplomacy. In the U. Following Christ's admonition, "blessed are the peacemakers," some Christian pacifists have either sought to exclude force from international affairs or taken a perfectionist view of ethics which leads to a fanaticism that distances them from reality.

Example of this can be found in most other religions as well. For example, at the onset of the Gulf War, both U. The Niebuhrian view of situationalist ethics may simply and very roughly be described as "If you argue for a given position, you must be prepared to argue for, or at least accept, the likely consequences. A broader and more diplomatically focused treatment can be found in Force and Statecraft, by eminent historian Gordon Craig and distinguished political scientist Alexander George. Since the end of the Cold War, there are more discussions of these matters in American churches, especially with respect to potential interventions, and disaster relief for poor countries.

High on the list of issues that any reconnecting of religion, diplomacy and international relations will have to deal with will be the ancient doctrines of Just War and Just Peace, and in the Islamic world, the question of Jihad. Over the past few years, a combined team of theologians and scholars have taken a renewed look at earlier doctrines of Just War and Just Peace.

A group of theologians who have been meeting periodically for about six years summarized the outcome of their work in Just Peacemaking: Ten Practices for Abolishing War. Stassen and his colleagues have undertaken this work in order to clarify the choices for all faiths in an era when "humanitarian interventions," rather than wars, have become a primary element of concern.

Christians, and others as well, have led the way in support of peacemaking as an activity and the application of conflict resolution techniques to try and avoid violence. They, more than secular thinkers, have pushed the notion of "justice" into the equation of calculating the just use of force.

Weigel's classic Christian formulation of true peace as "rightly ordered and dynamic political community in and among nations, in which legal and political institutions provide effective means for resolving the inevitable conflicts that will define public life until the End of Time," would be familiar and acceptable to mainline Islamic thought as well.

Evangelicals and Politics - National Association of Evangelicals

Similarly, Christian and of course other's concern for the poor and desire to build community relate very closely to the issue of combating chaos and building a just world order. Christians accept to varying degrees, of course John Donne's famous statement, "ask not for whom the bells toll; they toll for thee," This concern has supplied one of the strongest motives for Western assistance to those in need over the past 40 years despite the fact that "Christian" America has sunk to the bottom of the list of industrialized countries in terms of per capita foreign assistance sent abroad.

In the current international environment, the opportunities for constructive religious involvement abroad have multiplied significantly, individually and independently as well as collectively, through non-governmental organizations, a fact not always recognized in the chanceries of the world. Support nonviolent direct action -boycotts, strikes, marches, civil disobedience, public disclosure, accompaniment, safe space. Take independent initiatives to reduce threats -- decrease threat, stand-alone, series best-if reciprocated can continue arms reduction 3.

Arab Israeli peace example; Trust in Yugoslavia. Alter perceived reality even in irreducible conflict. Acknowledge responsibility for conflict and injustice and seek repentance and forgiveness. Transcend own pride, interests: empathy, repentance, forgiveness. US acknowledge ills-Japanese. Axis acceptance of responsibility. Iran hostage statement. Spreading Zones of Peace. Special problems of ethnic conflict. Foster just and sustainable economic development. Environmentally constructive development. Development to promote end of poverty, measure of justice.

Injustice in debt structure, conflicts in needs, resources oil, water. Sustainability vs. Work with emerging cooperative forces in the international system. Tension among governmental goals. Trend in system to decline in utility of war, rise of trading state, dramatic increase in volume, density of international exchanges, increase in democracy.

Exploring Religion and U.S. Foreign Policy

Strengthen UN and international efforts for cooperation and human rights.