An era has ended. The political expression that most galvanized evangelicals during the past quarter-century, the Religious Right, is fading. What's ahead is unclear. Millions of faith-based voters still exist, and they continue to care deeply about hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage, but the shape of their future political engagement remains to be formed. Into this uncertainty, former White House insiders Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner seek to call evangelicals toward a new kind of political engagement -- a kind that is better both for the church and the country, a kind that cannot be co-opted by either political party, a kind that avoids the historic mistakes of both the Religious Left and the Religious Right. Incisive, bold, and marked equally by pragmatism and idealism, Gerson and Wehner's new book has the potential to chart a new political future not just for values voters, but for the nation as a whole.
THE Buriats whose myth-tales I have collected, and whose beliefs, modes of worship, and customs I have studied at their source and describe in this volume, are Mongols in the strictest sense of the word as men use it. They inhabit three sides of Lake Baikal, as well as Olkhon its only island. The place and the people are noteworthy. Lake Baikal is the largest body of fresh water in the Old World, being over four hundred miles long and from twenty-four to fifty-six miles broad, its total area covering about thirteen thousand square miles. The Buriats living west of that water, and those inhabiting the sacred island of Olkhon, are the only Mongols who have preserved their own race religion with its primitive usages, archaic beliefs, and philosophy, hence they are a people of great interest to science. The region about that immense body of water, Lake Baikal, is of still greater interest in history, for from the mountain land south of the lake, and touching it, came Temudjin, known later as Jinghis Khan, and Tamerlane, or Timur Lenk (the Iron Limper), the two greatest personages in the Mongol division of mankind. From the first of these two mighty man-slayers were descended the Mongol subduers of China and Russia. Among Jinghis Khan's many grandsons were Kublai Khan, the subjector of China, together with Burma and other lands east of India; Hulagu, who destroyed the Assassin Commonwealth of Persia, stormed Bagdad, and extinguished the Abbasid Kalifat; and Batu, who covered Russia with blood and ashes, mined Hungary, hunting its king to an island in the Adriatic, crushed German and other forces opposed to the Mongols at Liegnitz, and returned to the Volga region, where he established his chief headquarters. Descendants of Jinghis Khan ruled in Russia for two centuries and almost five decades. In China they wielded power only sixty-eight years. From Tamerlane, a more brilliant, if not a greater, leader than Jinghis, descended the Mongols of India, whose history is remarkable both in the rise and the fall of the empire which they founded. These two Mongol conquerors had a common ancestor in Jinghis Khan's great-great-grandfather, Tumbinai; hence both men were of the same blood and had the same land of origin,—the region south of Lake Baikal. That Mongol power which began its career near Baikal covered all Asia, or most of it, and a large part of Europe, and lasted till destroyed by Russia and England. The histories of these struggles are world-wide in their meaning; they deserve the closest study, and in time will surely receive it. When the descendants of Jinghis Khan had lost China, the only great conquest left them was Russia, and there, after a rule of two hundred and forty-four years, power was snatched from them. The Grand Moguls, those masters of India, the descendants of Tamerlane, met with Great Britain, and were stripped of their empire in consequence.
The City of Man is a trilogy based on a true story of the Italian Renaissance. The three books are structured on Dante's Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Renaissance Florence celebrated its Golden Age during the late 15th century under Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent. This was the age of artists, philosophers and poets like Leonardo, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Pico della Mirandola, Poliziano, and Machiavelli. But a societal crisis was imminent by the century's last decade. The Italian peninsula was surrounded and threatened by imperialist powers, trade declined and poverty increased in the face of obscene wealth. Avaricious popes made a family business of the Church while floods, droughts, famines, and the plague all combined to create an atmosphere of overwhelming fear and anxiety. As chaos loomed, an obscure Dominican friar arose to restore order. Fra Girolamo Savonarola was a charismatic preacher and prophet who advocated religious and political reform. His mission was to transform his corrupt and decaying society into St. Augustine's mythical City of God. At the height of his short reign he orchestrated the infamous Bonfire of the Vanities, riding a wave of popular discontent to become the most influential religious, political, and cultural figure of the age. The Savonarolan theocratic republic left its indelible mark on the face of Florence, Italy, and Western history. The City of Man is the dramatic story of this preacher's fantastic rise and tragic fall, symbolizing a critical juncture in the conflict between Church and State in the Christian world. More dramatized history than historical fiction, the story integrates the art, religion, and politics of this glorious period. Young Niccolo Machiavelli provides the counterpoint to Savonarola as he develops his new political philosophy. Their momentous clash illuminates the transition from the Age of Faith to the Age of Reason, heralding the birth of the Modern Age.
The First Amendment guarantee that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" rejected the millennium-old Western policy of supporting one form of Christianity in each nation and subjugating all other faiths. The exact meaning and application of this American innovation, however, has always proved elusive. Individual states found it difficult to remove traditional laws that controlled religious doctrine, liturgy, and church life, and that discriminated against unpopular religions. They found it even harder to decide more subtle legal questions that continue to divide Americans today: Did the constitution prohibit governmental support for religion altogether, or just preferential support for some religions over others? Did it require that government remove Sabbath, blasphemy, and oath-taking laws, or could they now be justified on other grounds? Did it mean the removal of religious texts, symbols, and ceremonies from public documents and government lands, or could a democratic government represent these in ever more inclusive ways? These twelve essays stake out strong and sometimes competing positions on what "no establishment of religion" meant to the American founders and to subsequent generations of Americans, and what it might mean today.
Recent scholarship has criticized the assumption that European modernity was inherently secular. Yet, we remain poorly informed about religion's fate in the nineteenth-century big city, the very crucible of the modern condition. Drawing on extensive archival research and investigations into Protestant ecclesiastical organization, church-state relations, liturgy, pastoral care, associational life, and interconfessional relations, this study of Strasbourg following Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871 shows how urbanization not only challenged the churches, but spurred them to develop new, forward-looking, indeed, urban understandings of religious community and piety. The work provides new insights into what it meant for Imperial Germany to identify itself as "Protestant" and it provocatively identifies the European big city as an agent for sacralization, and not just secularization.
Dr Butler provides a new interpretation of the cristero war (1926-29) which divided Mexico's peasantry into rival camps loyal to the Catholic Church (cristero) or the Revolution (agrarista). This book puts religion at the heart of our understanding of the revolt by showing how peasant allegiances often resulted from genuinely popular cultural and religious antagonisms. It challenges the assumption that Mexican peasants in the 1920s shared religious outlooks and that their behaviour was mainly driven by political and material factors. Focusing on the state of Michoacán in western-central Mexico, the volume seeks to integrate both cultural and structural lines of inquiry. First charting the uneven character of Michoacán's historical formation in the late colonial period and the nineteenth century, Dr Butler shows how the emergence of distinct agrarian regimes and political cultures was later associated with varying popular responses to post-revolutionary state formation in the areas of educational and agrarian reform. At the same time, it is argued that these structural trends were accompanied by increasingly clear divergences in popular religious cultures, including lay attitudes to the clergy, patterns of religious devotion and deviancy, levels of sacramental participation, and commitment to militant 'social' Catholicism. As peasants in different communities developed distinct parish identities, so the institutional conflict between Church and state acquired diverse meanings and provoked violently contradictory popular responses. Thus the fires of revolt burned all the more fiercely because they inflamed a countryside which - then as now - was deeply divided in matters of faith as well as politics. Based on oral testimonies and careful searches of dozens of ecclesiastical and state archives, this study makes an important contribution to the religious history of the Mexican Revolution.
'Decentralization and Local Democracy in the World' constitutes a global reference on decentralization by presenting the contemporary situation of local governments in all regions of the world. The report analyzes local authorities in each continent under three main themes: the evolution of territorial structures; responsibilities and power, management and finances; and local democracy. An additional chapter is dedicated to the governance of large metropolises, where rapid growth presents major challenges, in particular in the fast-developing countries of the South. This report also offers a comparative overview of the different realities concerning the state of decentralization, and how the basic indispensable mechansims for local democracy do, or do not exist in come countries. Relationships between the state and local authorities are evolving toward innovative forms of cooperation. In this context, the role of local authorities in the development of global policies is increasingly recognized. The first Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD) Report is one of the main products of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The GOLD Report is the first of what will be a triennial publication. UCLG represents and defends the interests of local governments on the world stage, regardless of the size of the communities they serve. Headquartered in Barcelona, the organization's stated mission is: To be the united voice and world advocate of democratic local self-government, promoting its values, objectives and interests, through cooperation between local governments, and within the wider international community.