“Introduction: Political Secularism and Religious Difference in Western Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa”
Jeffrey Haynes and Erin Wilson
The introductory paper of this symposium compares the impact of “political secular” governing regimes in the countries of both the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Western Europe. The overall objective is to assess the impact of political secularism in both regions, as a key component of inter-religious and cultural discord and contention with significant political ramifications. The concept of “political secularism,” a contentious term, often lacking in analytical clarity, is briefly assessed. That is, what does “political secularism” mean and what does it look like both within and across Europe and the MENA? Opinions differ from scholar to scholar. As there is no consensus regarding the meaning of the term “political secular,” a core contribution of this introduction is to examine what the term means analytically in the contexts of the MENA and Western Europe.
Indra de Soysa
Published online: 19 December 2018
Are majority-Muslim countries laggards when it comes to developing liberal economic institutions? Using an Index of Economic Freedom and its component parts, this study finds that Muslim-dominant countries (>50% of the population) are positively associated with free-market capitalism. Protestant dominance is also positively correlated, but the association stems from just two components of the index, mainly “legal security and property rights protection.” Surprisingly, Protestant countries correlate negatively with “small government” and “freedom to trade,” two critical components of free-market capitalism. Muslim dominance shows positive correlations with all areas except for “legal security and property rights.” The results are consistent when assessing similar variables measuring property rights and government ownership of the economy collected by the Varieties of Democracy Project. Capitalistic policies and institutions, it seems, may travel across religions more easily than culturalists claim.
Section Journal | Volume 11, Issue 1 | March 2018 , pp. 1-26
Religious Regulation as Foreign Policy: Morocco’s Islamic Diplomacy in West Africa
Ann Marie Wainscott
Studies of religious regulation tend to examine how states manage the domestic religious market. This article extends this research program by analyzing a state that regulates the religious markets of foreign countries. The Moroccan case demonstrates the circumstances under which a religious bureaucracy designed to manage domestic religion can be turned outward, and employed to achieve foreign policy goals. Unlike other cases of foreign religious regulation, however, Morocco’s efforts have been welcomed at the same time that the policy advanced Morocco’s interests. What explains the success of Morocco’s religious foreign policy? Building on interviews with religious elites from a recipient country, this article argues that Moroccan religious foreign policy has been successful because it was perceived as having historical and cultural legitimacy, it built on pre-existing institutions, and it was paired with renewed economic collaboration, three factors that have broader theoretical relevance to the study of religious foreign policies.
A Matter of Discretion: The Politics of Catholic Priests in the United States and Ireland.
By Brian R. Calfano, Melissa R. Michelson , and Elizabeth A. Oldmixon. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.
Laura S. Hussey
Faithful to Secularism: The Religious Politics of Democracy in Ireland, Senegal, and the Philippines.
By David T. Buckley. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
Nukhet A. Sandal
Incoming Editors for Politics and Religion Share New Plans for Journal
The APSA and the Organized Section on Religion and Politics announced new editors for the journal, Politics and Religion.
Elizabeth A. Oldmixon, University of North Texas, will serve as lead editor.
Mehmet Gurses, Florida Atlantic University, and Nicholas Tampio, Fordham University, will serve as editors.
Their five-year editorial term commenced January 2017.
“To raise the profile of religion and politics scholarship in the discipline, we encourage the timely publication of accessible yet rigorous scholarship,” explains Oldmixon. “In particular, the journal will now accept the submission of shorter, problem-driven manuscripts of approximately 4,500 words, in addition to the longer form pieces currently published in the journal. These would not be research notes, per se, as we would have an expectation of theoretically informed work, but a premium would be placed on strong, parsimonious writing.”
The editors also plan to develop special issues on timely topics such as the religion and the carceral state or religion and human rights."
Read much more here.