Through a case study of community organizing in the global city of London and an examination of the legacy of Saul Alinsky around the world, this book develops a constructive account of the relationship between religious diversity, democratic citizenship, and economic and political accountability. Based on an in-depth, ethnographic study, Part I identifies and depicts a consociational, populist and post-secular vision of democratic citizenship by reflecting on the different strands of thought and practice that feed into and help constitute community organizing. Particular attention is given to how organizing mediates the relationship between Christianity, Islam and Judaism and those without a religious commitment in order to forge a common life. Part II then unpacks the implications of this vision for how we respond to the spheres in which citizenship is enacted, namely, civil society, the sovereign nation-state, and the globalized economy. Overall, the book outlines a way of re-imagining democracy, developing innovative public policy, and addressing poverty in the contemporary context.
Faith-based community organizers have spent decades working for greater equality in American society, and more recently have become significant players in shaping health care, finance, and immigration reform at the highest levels of government. In A Shared Future, Richard L. Wood and Brad R. Fulton draw on a new national study of community organizing coalitions and in-depth interviews of key leaders in this field to show how faith-based organizing is creatively navigating the competing aspirations of America’s universalist and multiculturalist democratic ideals, even as it confronts three demons bedeviling American politics: economic inequality, federal policy paralysis, and racial inequity. With a broad view of the entire field and a distinct empirical focus on the PICO National Network, Wood and Fulton’s analysis illuminates the tensions, struggles, and deep rewards that come with pursuing racial equity within a social change organization and in society. Ultimately, A Shared Future offers a vision for how we might build a future that embodies the ethical democracy of the best American dreams. An interview of the authors on the subject of faith leaders organizing for justice (Peace Talks Radio, copyright Good Radio Shows, Inc.) can be heard at this link: https://beta.prx.org/stories/190030
“Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”Mathew 11:28 (AKJV) In the early 1990s, a grassroots coalition of churches in Baltimore, Maryland helped launch what would become a national movement. Joining forces with labor and low-wage worker organizations, they passed the first municipal living wage ordinance. Since then, over 144 municipalities and counties as well as numerous universities and local businesses in the United States have enacted such ordinances. Although religious persons and organizations have been important both in the origins of the living wage movement and in its continuing success, they are often ignored or under analyzed. Drawing on participant observation in multiple cities, All You That Labor analyzes and evaluates the contributions of religious activists to the movement. The book explores the ways religious organizations do this work in concert with low-wage workers, the challenges religious activists face, and how people of faith might better nurture moral agency in relation to the political economy. Ultimately, C. Melissa Snarr provides clarity on how to continue to cultivate, renew, and expand religious resources dedicated to the moral agency of low-wage workers and their allies.
Congratulations to Luke Bretherton on winning the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing for Christianity and Contemporary Politics! Relations between religious and political spheres continue to stir passionate debates on both sides of the Atlantic. Through a combination of theological reflection and empirical case studies, Bretherton succeeds in offering timely and invaluable insights into these crucial issues facing 21st century societies. Explores the relationship between Christianity and contemporary politics through case studies of faith-based organizations, Christian political activism and welfare provision in the West; these case studies assess initiatives including community organizing, fair trade, and the sanctuary movement Offers an insightful, informative account of how Christians can engage politically in a multi-faith, liberal democracy Integrates debates in political theology with inter-disciplinary analysis of policy and practice regarding religious social, political and economic engagement in the USA, UK, and continental Europe Reveals how Christians can help prevent the subversion of the church – and even of politics itself – by legal, bureaucratic, and market mechanisms, rather than advocating withdrawal or assimilation Engages with the intricacies of contemporary politics whilst integrating systematic and historical theological reflection on political and economic life
This book explains why the United States, a country that values religious freedom, has persecuted some religious minorities while protecting others. It explores the experiences of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Catholics, and Muslims arguing that the state will persecute a religion if it sees it as a political threat.
Over the past fifteen years, associations throughout the U.S. have organized citizens around issues of equality and social justice, often through local churches. But in contrast to President Bush's vision of faith-based activism, in which groups deliver social services to the needy, these associations do something greater. Drawing on institutions of faith, they reshape public policies that neglect the disadvantaged. To find out how this faith-based form of community organizing succeeds, Richard L. Wood spent several years working with two local groups in Oakland, California—the faith-based Pacific Institute for Community Organization and the race-based Center for Third World Organizing. Comparing their activist techniques and achievements, Wood argues that the alternative cultures and strategies of these two groups give them radically different access to community ties and social capital. Creative and insightful, Faith in Action shows how community activism and religious organizations can help build a more just and democratic future for all Americans.
This book compares secularity in societies not shaped by Western Christianity, particularly in Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
`Culture' and `citizenship' are two of the most hotly contested concepts in the social sciences. What are the relationships between them? This book explores the issues of inclusion and exclusion, the market and policy, rights and responsibilities, and the definitions of citizens and non-citizens. Substantive topics investigated in the various chapters include: cultural democracy; intersubjectivity and the unconscious; globalization and the nation state; European citizenship; and the discourses on cultural policy.
Religious Resistance to Neoliberalism offers compelling and intersectional religious critiques of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is the normative rationality of contemporary global capitalism that orders people to live by the generalized principle of competition in all social spheres of life. Keri Day asserts that neoliberalism and its moral orientations consequently breed radical distrust, lovelessness, disconnection, and alienation within society. She argues that engaging black feminist and womanist religious perspectives with Jewish and Christian discourses offers more robust critiques of a neoliberal economy. Employing womanist and black feminist religious perspectives, this book provides six theoretical, theologically constructive arguments to challenge the moral fragmentation associated with global markets. It strives to envision a pragmatic politics of hope.
What is it like to be a Westerner teaching political philosophy in an officially Marxist state? Why do Chinese sex workers sing karaoke with their customers? And why do some Communist Party cadres get promoted if they care for their elderly parents? In this entertaining and illuminating book, one of the few Westerners to teach at a Chinese university draws on his personal experiences to paint an unexpected portrait of a society undergoing faster and more sweeping changes than anywhere else on earth. With a storyteller's eye for detail, Daniel Bell observes the rituals, routines, and tensions of daily life in China. China's New Confucianism makes the case that as the nation retreats from communism, it is embracing a new Confucianism that offers a compelling alternative to Western liberalism. Bell provides an insider's account of Chinese culture and, along the way, debunks a variety of stereotypes. He presents the startling argument that Confucian social hierarchy can actually contribute to economic equality in China. He covers such diverse social topics as sex, sports, and the treatment of domestic workers. He considers the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, wondering whether Chinese overcompetitiveness might be tempered by Confucian civility. And he looks at education in China, showing the ways Confucianism impacts his role as a political theorist and teacher. By examining the challenges that arise as China adapts ancient values to contemporary society, China's New Confucianism enriches the dialogue of possibilities available to this rapidly evolving nation. In a new preface, Bell discusses the challenges of promoting Confucianism in China and the West.
Religious freedom is so often presented as a timeless American ideal and an inalienable right, appearing fully formed at the founding of the United States. That is simply not so, Tisa Wenger contends in this sweeping and brilliantly argued book. Instead, American ideas about religious freedom were continually reinvented through a vibrant national discourse--Wenger calls it "religious freedom talk--that cannot possibly be separated from the evolving politics of race and empire. More often than not, Wenger demonstrates, religious freedom talk worked to privilege the dominant white Christian population. At the same time, a diverse array of minority groups at home and colonized people abroad invoked and reinterpreted this ideal to defend themselves and their ways of life. In so doing they posed sharp challenges to the racial and religious exclusions of American life. People of almost every religious stripe have argued, debated, negotiated, and brought into being an ideal called American religious freedom, subtly transforming their own identities and traditions in the process. In a post-9/11 world, Wenger reflects, public attention to religious freedom and its implications is as consequential as it has ever been.
How the issues of the past affect the future of Deep Church--a concept conceived by C. S. Lewis.Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant traditions drink from the well of a common tradition rooted in the early church. Many Evangelicals are now reengaging with the practice of the early church as they seek to live as disciples today. Remembering the past is essential for facing the future. In Remembering Our Future leaders and theologians reflect on a range of issues for which a vibrant contemporary faith requires a careful listening to the past. What is the place of tradition in the church's life? How should we interpret the Bible? How should we worship? What, in other words, might Deep Church look like?
In a pluralistic society such as ours, tolerance is a virtue—but it doesn't always seem so. Some suspect that it entangles us in unacceptable moral compromises and inequalities of power, while others dismiss it as mere political correctness or doubt that it can safeguard the moral and political relationships we value. Tolerance among the Virtues provides a vigorous defense of tolerance against its many critics and shows why the virtue of tolerance involves exercising judgment across a variety of different circumstances and relationships—not simply applying a prescribed set of rules. Drawing inspiration from St. Paul, Aquinas, and Wittgenstein, John Bowlin offers a nuanced inquiry into tolerance as a virtue. He explains why the advocates and debunkers of toleration have reached an impasse, and he suggests a new way forward by distinguishing the virtue of tolerance from its false look-alikes, and from its sibling, forbearance. Some acts of toleration are right and good, while others amount to indifference, complicity, or condescension. Some persons are able to draw these distinctions well and to act in accord with their better judgment. When we praise them as tolerant, we are commending them as virtuous. Bowlin explores what that commendation means. Tolerance among the Virtues offers invaluable insights into how to live amid differences we cannot endorse—beliefs we consider false, actions we think are unjust, institutional arrangements we consider cruel or corrupt, and persons who embody what we oppose.
The current political, economic and financial crises facing the EU reveal a deeper cultural, indeed spiritual, malaise – a crisis in ‘the soul of Europe’. Many observers are concluding that the ‘soul of Europe’ cannot be restored to health without a new appreciation of the contribution of religion to its past and future, and especially that of its hugely important but widely neglected Christian heritage, which is alive today even amidst advancing European secularization. This book offers a fresh, constructive and critical understanding of Christian contributions to the origin and development of the EU from a variety of theological and national perspectives. It explains the Christian origins of the EU, documents the various ways in which it has been both affirmed and critiqued from diverse theological perspectives, offers expert, theologically-informed assessments of four illustrative policy areas of the EU (trade, finance, environment, science), and also reports on the place of religion in the EU, including how religious freedom is framed and how contemporary religious (including Muslim) actors relate to EU institutions and vice versa. The book fills a major gap in the current debate about the future of the European project and will be of interest to students and scholars of religion, politics and European studies.
We live amid increasing ethical plurality and fragmentation while at the same time more and more questions of moral gravity confront us. Some of these questions are new, such as those around human cloning and genetics. Other questions that were previously settled have re-emerged, such as those around the place of religion in politics. Responses to such questions are diverse, numerous and often vehemently contested. Hospitality as Holiness seeks to address the underlying question facing the church within contemporary moral debates: how should Christians relate to their neighbours when ethical disputes arise? The problems the book examines centre on what the nature and basis of Christian moral thought and action is, and in the contemporary context, whether moral disputes may be resolved with those who do not share the same framework as Christians. Bretherton establishes a model - that of hospitality - for how Christians and non-Christians can relate to each other amid moral diversity. This book will appeal to those interested in the broad question of the relationship between reason, tradition, natural law and revelation in theology, and more specifically to those engaged with questions about plurality, tolerance and ethical conflict in Christian ethics and medical ethics.
This book examines 111 types of state religion policy in 177 countries between 1990 and 2008. Jonathan Fox argues that policy is largely a result of the competition between political secular actors and religious actors, both of which try to influence state religion policy. While there are other factors that influence state religion policy and both the secular and religious camps are divided, Fox offers that the secular-religious competition perspective provides critical insight into the nature of religious politics across the globe. While many states have both increased and decreased their involvement in religion, Fox demonstrates that states which have become more involved in religion are far more common.
'The contributions of Woodiwiss, Lister and Sassen are outstanding but not unrepresentative of the many merits of this excellent collection'- The British Journal of Sociology From women's rights, civil rights, and sexual rights for gays and lesbians to disability rights and language rights, we have experienced in the past few decades a major trend in Western nation-states towards new claims for inclusion. This trend has echoed around the world: from the Zapatistas to Chechen and Kurdish nationalists, social and political movements are framing their struggles in the languages of rights and recognition, and hence, of citizenship. Citizenship has thus become an increasingly important axis in the social sciences. Social scientists have been rethinking the role of political agent or subject. Not only are the rights and obligations of citizens being redefined, but also what it means to be a citizen has become an issue of central concern. As the process of globalization produces multiple diasporas, we can expect increasingly complex relationships between homeland and host societies that will make the traditional idea of national citizenship problematic. As societies are forced to manage cultural difference and associated tensions and conflict, there will be changes in the processes by which states allocate citizenship and a differentiation of the category of citizen. This book constitutes the most authoritative and comprehensive guide to the terrain. Drawing on a wealth of interdisciplinary knowledge, and including some of the leading commentators of the day, it is an essential guide to understanding modern citizenship. About the editors: Engin F Isin is Associate Professor of Social Science at York University. His recent works include Being Political: Genealogies of Citizenship (Minnesota, 2002) and, with P K Wood, Citizenship and Identity (Sage, 1999). He is the Managing Editor of Citizenship Studies. Bryan S Turner is Professor of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. He has written widely on the sociology of citizenship in Citizenship and Capitalism (Unwin Hyman, 1986) and Citizenship and Social Theory (Sage, 1993). He is also the author of The Body and Society (Sage, 1996) and Classical Sociology (Sage, 1999), and has been editor of Citizenship Studies since 1997.
African American Catholics, though small in number and historically the targets of racial intolerance, are now the backbone of the church. The vast majority of African American Catholics do not perceive racial marginalization and intolerance in the church. African American Catholics are among the strongest religious identifiers in the church, while whites show a more fragile Catholic identity. The Catholic church may have finally overcome its racist past for the vast majority of African American Catholics, but serious concerns remain for white Catholics. Based on data from a national religion survey, this book explores religious attitudes from an African American Catholic perspective.
The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics documents a recent, fundamental change in American politics with the waning of Christian America. Rather than conservatives emphasizing morality and liberals emphasizing rights, both sides now wield rights arguments as potent weapons to win political and legal battles and build grassroots support. Lewis documents this change on the right, focusing primarily on evangelical politics. Using extensive historical and survey data that compares evangelical advocacy and evangelical public opinion, Lewis explains how the prototypical culture war issue - abortion - motivated the conservative rights turn over the past half century, serving as a springboard for rights learning and increased conservative advocacy in other arenas. Challenging the way we think about the culture wars, Lewis documents how rights claims are used to thwart liberal rights claims, as well as to provide protection for evangelicals, whose cultural positions are increasingly in the minority; they have also allowed evangelical elites to justify controversial advocacy positions to their base and to engage more easily in broad rights claiming in new or expanded political arenas, from health care to capital punishment.