(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘religious tolerance

“Those who believe that politics and religion do not mix, understand neither”*…

Authoritarian leaders who play the religious card are not mere hypocrites, Suzanne Schneider suggests; there’s something far more troubling going on…

Viktor Orbán reportedly does not attend church. Benjamin Netanyahu eats at non-kosher restaurants. New York libertine Donald Trump lacks all manner of evident religious virtue.

Yet it is a fact that today’s crop of aspiring authoritarians invoke religious themes and symbols, despite not being strict adherents to their respective traditions. Of course, there is nothing new about the opportunistic use of religion by politicians. The scholars Garret Martin and Carolyn Gallaher have remarked that ‘Orbán’s use of religion is no different from Ronald Reagan’s embrace of Christian evangelicals in the late 1970s.’ According to these explanations, such figures cynically appeal to religion, despite not being true believers. Given this purported sincerity deficit, a conversation in this register toggles between accusations of hypocrisy and instrumentalism. How can such obviously corrupted figures claim to speak on behalf of a Christian or Jewish nation? And how can voters who claim to be animated by religious values be so blind?

Tempting as it is, the hypocrisy diagnosis does not quite map onto the emerging social landscape. There is instead a deeper and more interesting shift occurring in the world toward a new post-liberal or illiberal order of religion and politics. Understanding the nature of this transformation enables critics to break out of the cycle of allegations of hypocrisy or inconsistency, and to grasp an emergent worldview that is both coherent and deeply troubling…

Read on for her (troubling) explication: “An unholy alliance,” from @suzy_schneider in @aeonmag.

For the Washington Post‘s examination of the global tilt toward authoritarian nationalism: “Leaders of democracies increasingly echo Putin in authoritarian tilt” (gift article, so no paywall).

Apposite: “When the Hindu Right Came for Bollywood” (“The industry used to honor India’s secular ideals—but, since the rise of Narendra Modi, it’s been flooded with stock Hindu heroes and Muslim villains…”)

* Albert Einstein (also attributed to Gandhi)

###

As we take the measure of the metamorphosis, we might recall that it was on this date in 1789 that John Jay was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. A founding father (co-author of The Federalist Papers with Hamilton and Madison, and President of the second Continental Congress), he had previously served as the young nation’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs (in which position he helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris), as the first Secretary of State, then as Governor of New York.

Jay was an ally of Hamilton, a proponent of a strong national government. While Governor of New York, he presided over a state constitutional convention in which religious tolerance was enshrined… within limits: he succeeded in adding special provisions for Catholics to the constitution’s article on the naturalization of foreigners. Under Jay’s amendment, aliens were required to take an oath of allegiance to the state that included renunciation of all allegiance and subjection to “all and every foreign king, prince potentate and state, in all matters ecclesiastical as well as civil.” Scholars suggest that the persecution of Jay’s Huguenot ancestors by the Catholic Church and his adherence to traditional Whig views identifying Protestantism with liberty and Catholicism with oppression, foreign influence, and sedition motivated his actions.

John Jay, by Gilbert Stuart, 1794

source

Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 19, 2022 at 1:00 am

It’s not easy being green…

In the too-frequently-horrifying theater of events playing out around us every day, we’re reminded that, for all the ambient praise of “diversity,” the differences among people are all too often the occasion for fear, then violence– sometimes physical violence; but more often violence of the “cooler,” but still-plenty-insidious political, economic, or psychological variety…

Occasionally, the expressions of that fear are so extreme as to transcend the offensive; they become so ridiculous as to be funny…

source

But mostly the fear just transmutes into hate…  hate that– emanating from the “normal,” the “righteous”– too often succeeds in (one of) its goals: infecting its target with the guilt that comes of being made to feel “abnormal” or “wrong.”

So it’s a treat to discover Born This Way, a site that invites the members of one long-time target group, gay adults, to submit photos of themselves along with short essays “that capture them, innocently, showing the beginnings of their innate LGBT selves.”  It’s a collection of entries that are, at once, proud and self-deprecating, funny and moving…

Isaac: Here I am with my two brothers in the dustbowl mining town of Karratha in Western Australia, where the dirt is red and the people are predominantly white. Being one of the few ethnic people in town didn't bug me so much, I just assumed I was white like everyone else. Ah, the innocence of youth. At this point in my life I lived a blissfully unaware gay lifestyle: Having all female friends, really REALLY liking Catwoman, and always trying on my friend's fake, plastic, high heeled shoes when I went to their house. I actually didn't realize I was even close to being gay until my graduating year of high school, so this photo is one of those things I look at now and think to myself -- 'How did I NOT know?!'

Laurie: As a kid, I always enjoyed dressing up in more 'boyish' clothes. I loved my Star Wars figures, and hated Barbie dolls. I wore boys Under-roos (Superman was my favorite!) and played sports.

Dustin: This photo was taken somewhere in the wild back country of Wyoming on the annual fall hunting trip with the family. I can't believe I used to go hunting - definitely not something I'd do today. I used to love putting on that great orange gear - the best was the shopping trip prior to the hunt where I could pick out anything as long as it was orange. We shot all sorts of guns - mostly at Coke cans. I only remember once when a deer was actually killed. I just can't believe that when this photo was taken that my family didn't know I was gay. Look at the pose! The hips, the knees, the hand gesture and yes, the gun. How could they be so shocked when I came out?! I always knew I was gay - I never had a problem with it. I just knew one day I'd be a grown-up and fabulous. And I was RIGHT!

As creator Paul V. explains,

…some of the pix here feature gay boys with feminine traits, and some gay girls with masculine traits. And even more gay kids with NONE of those traits. Just like real life, these gay kids come in all shades and layers of masculine and feminine… this project is not about furthering stereotypes. It is, simply: ‘This is me and this is my story’ – in living color and black & white.

More stories at Born This Way.

[Thanks to i09 for the lead to what may be the best book cover ever!  And to reader CE for the pointer to Born This Way.]

As we celebrate the variety that is humanity, we might recall that it was on this date in 1631 that Roger Williams landed near Boston.   Soon after his arrival, Williams alarmed the Puritan oligarchy of Massachusetts by speaking out against the right of civil authorities to punish religious dissension and to confiscate Indian land. In October 1635, he was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by the General Court.

So, with the assistance of the Narragansett tribe, Williams established a settlement at the junction of two rivers near Narragansett Bay, located in (what is now) Rhode Island. He declared the settlement open to all those seeking freedom of conscience and the removal of the church from civil matters– and many dissatisfied Puritans came. Taking the success of the venture as a sign from God, Williams named the community “Providence.”

Williams stayed close to the Narragansett Indians and continued to protect them from the land greed of European settlers. His respect for the Indians, his fair treatment of them, and his knowledge of their language enabled him to carry on peace negotiations between natives and Europeans, until the eventual outbreak of King Philip’s War in the 1670s. And although Williams preached to the Narragansett, he practiced his principle of religious freedom by refraining from attempts to convert them.

 

Roger Williams statue, Roger Williams Park, Providence, R.I.

source: Library of Congress

The Future of Newspapers…

Tucson-based artist Nick Georgiou finds an enduring use for the broadsheet and the tabloid…  See more inspired folding on his blog, My Human Computer, and at The Design Inspiration.

As we rethink recycling, we might recall that it was on this date in 1626 that a large codfish, split open at a Cambridge market, revealed a religious text inside, written by John Frith.  Frith, a English protestant and preacher of religious tolerance, had been imprisoned a century before by Cardinal Wolsey in the fish cellar at Cardinal College.

The text was ultimately published by Cambridge University Press as “Vox Piscis.”

Frith (and Andrew Hewet) being burned at the stake for heresy, 1533 (source)

%d bloggers like this: