Confessions of a Protestant Anglophile
3 days ago
political theology and civil religion
(Via Reformation21 Blog.)
In contemporary debates on the parallel between "politics" and "religion" the talk often focuses, especially in a European context, on the "problem of Islam". It is highly typical in today's discourse to (a) frame all interventions of religion into politics as problems often requiring a secular solution; and to (b) interpellate them on an extra-European or -Christian context, i.e. making them alien to secular Europe and european-ness.
What this discourse often conceals is historical and existential context: that religion, specifically the Christian religion in all of its varieties, has always been present in European politics -- the fact that we can talk about "European politics" to begin with is a result of ecclesiastica developments on this continent over the last two millennia. What it also conceals, often inspired by a political form of anti-theism, is the living reality that religion is more than a problem for politics. It can be, as it has been throughout the history of "European politics", a positive influence in the social life of human communities. Like all religions, Christianity is a social reality and one that, through a variety of creeds and churches, brings the authority of God to bear upon temporal matters.
This panel focuses on the political forms Christianity has taken, and takes today, in Europe. Is it even possible to talk about political Christianity in Europe? What is the role played by the churches? What policies are supported, what are opposed by christians themselves? What makes a peculiarly Christian political influence positive, and what makes it problematic? Does Christian politics have a telos, or teloi? The panel welcomes papers that approach the topic and questions such as these from local, national, and regional perspectives.