Political Theology Today A forum for interdisciplinary and interreligious dialogue


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Political Theology and Islamic Studies Symposium: Secularism, Conversion, and Islamic Politics

I join this conversation as a political theorist having just published a book, Beyond Church and State: Democracy, Secularism, and Conversion (Cambridge 2013), in which I argue that the modern secular imaginary is premised upon an insufficient image of secularism as the separation of church and state, and that secularism should instead be understood as a process of conversion that reshapes key dimensions of both religious and political life

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Democratic revolutions and gun rights – forging a more global perspective on the current controversy

Everyone is familliar with Mao Tse-Tung’s famous dictum, first formulated during the Long March in the 1930s, that “all power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” The saying often has gushily romantic overtones for even the most gun-abhorring political progressive while setting off paroxysms of indignation perhaps among […]

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The Politics of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12): Epiphany as Disorientation

The lectionary readings for Epiphany bathe the reader in the language of light. Isaiah 60:1 commands the people of Zion to “Arise, shine; for your light has come.” Psalm 72:5 invokes those celestial light-givers, the sun and moon. And of course Matthew 2:2 gives us the splendid star-following magi and their sparkly gift of gold. In our most domesticated and tamed interpretations, we bask in the warm and cheerful glow emanating from these readings. Like our fireplaces keeping the gray winter at bay, these passages have become homey and cozy for many readers. Truth be told, I rather like that warm glow this time of year! Yet when these passages are let out of the house, they open up a larger landscape filled with things other than light and joy. Yes, they celebrate divine justice for the poor and the leader’s power to create it. They also illuminate the darkness and deception of power politics. They lift up the vulnerability of the divine sovereign made flesh, but also blatantly seek world dominion for the Davidic king. They rejoice in the manifestation of God, but also point to places where God‘s justice is eclipsed by political animals. In short, these passages for Epiphany disorient us about God and politics as much as they reveal God‘s relationship to the world…

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Demographics as destiny – will indeed the religious inherit the earth?

As I step off the Schottentor station of the  subway enroute to teach my evening class at the University of Vienna, my way is suddenly blocked by a long stream of demonstrators marching to protest conditions  in the sprawling refugee camp known as Treiskirchen just outside the city.   The […]

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“Race and Secularism in America,” co-sponsored by Syracuse University and Vassar College

On October 26 and 27, 2012, Vincent Lloyd and Jonathon Kahn will convene a workshop at Syracuse University on “Race and Secularism in America.” The animating question of the workshop is: Why have contemporary discussions of “the secular” rarely been inflected by considerations of race, and why discussions of race rarely taken the secular into […]

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