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Religion and the State

Session Chair: N.N. | Thursday, August 27, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Samuel Ngale

Civil Religious Dynamics in Jose Craveirinha's Aestheticized Nationalism

This paper is about the way in which Craveirinha’s aesthetic representation in Karingana-Ua-Karingana, Xigubo and Cela 1, helped gather a shared repertoire near the will (longings, desires, wishes) of many Mozambicans—the organic civil religion, into a coherent political project—the instrumental civil religion. That is, how an eschatological symbolism in Craveirinha’s poems created an aesthetic platform for the emergence of a Mozambican civil religion, known as Moçambicanidade. Jose Craveirinha is the godfather of poets and short story writers in Mozambique, a towering figure in the literary world who, in life, dreamed of and projected an image of a just and modern southeast African nation at the end of twentieth century. In key poems of Karingana, Xigubo and Cela 1 he evoked old Nguni warriors and larger-than-life figures, such as Maguiguana and Mahazul; and Bantu deities and spirits, such as Jambul, and Ngungunhane the Nguni emperor. He uses thus, teleological and eschatological imagery and symbolism to construct an ideal group.

Helene R. Kirstein

An ethnological analysis of 'religion' in the European Union's dialogue with churches

Religion as a complex concept constitutes a distinct organization for churches in the contemporary democratic process of consultation in the European Union. Dialogue initiated by the European Union establishes a position for churches that is both unique and universal at the same time. The goal of the churches can be seen as one of changing both everyday habits and public policies in a global context related to such topics as nuclear weapons, environmental issues, climate change, and poverty. In reference to these subjects, churches utilize theories drawn from science, theology, law, and the humanities to understand and explain their aims. Nevertheless, although both partners in the dialogue recognize churches' objectives as wholistic in conception and purpose, both also see churches as having a specific contribution to make to the improvement of society. My research will show that this apparent contradiction is actually an enabling, foundational principle of the dialogue itself.

Ricmar Aquino

Freedom of Religion and the Philippine Constitution

The Philippines is a democratic country inSouth East Asia and known as the only Catholic nation in the region for a long time. The free exercise of religion was enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.The Court in a landmark decision held that the free exercise clause of the Constitution completely separated the realm of belief from state action and only religiously motivated actions are subject to State’s power. Certainly, the scope of governmental powers regulating religious freedom specifically religiously motivated actions or expressions would come into conflict. Public health such as reproductive health, vaccination and blood transfusion are opposed to religious tenets. Civic responsibilities, duties and obligations of citizens under the Constitution and the laws can be questioned in case of conflict with religious doctrines and beliefs. It is therefore the task of the Judiciary to balance the secular interest of the State with that of religious interest.

Albert De Jong

The dissolution of religious diversity in the Middle East

Hardly any theory worth mentioning exists on the question of how religions die, and what the role of students of religion should be when they face the imminent disappearance of the communities they work with. Much can be learned, in this respect, from colleagues in linguistics, who have been debating ‘language death’ for generations. These questions have become extremely urgent in the Middle East, since many communities that have existed in the Middle East for very long periods, largely by remaining unnoticed, now face almost certain extinction, for a variety of reasons, some external (displacement; persecution; rape, murder and slavery), some internal (the inability to bring outsiders into the community; difficulty in communicating what the religion means and how it should be practiced; the dissolution of the authority of specialists; self-Islamisation). By focusing on small groups, I hope to set the agenda for the very large question of ‘religion death’.


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