Chapter 3: religion and politics
In the 1960s, one of America’s Protestant theologians, Harvey Cox, did not
predict the demise of religion, but that its form would change. This included
its historical roles in politics and other forms of public life. Social scientists
at the time were predicting the same thing.
In the Third World, though, religion remained very pervasive at the
secularization of society seems inevitable. For example, and Latin
America, the Catholic Church lost some of its control over the education
system. In India, the government outlawed caste system, but was still
cornerstone of Hindu religious practice. In the Middle East countries such
as Egypt, Iraq and Syria created more secular political systems. Donald
Smith, a leading authority stated that political development includes as one
of its basic processes, the secularization of politics and exclusion of religion
from the political system.
Early modernization theorists saw religion as a barrier to political and
economic development. Dependency theorists saw religion is basically
unimportant. But since the time of Smith. There has been a resurgence of
religion as a political force. Since the 1970s, much of the Third World as
well as the developed world have experienced a religious resurgence and
the increased role of religion in politics. Interestingly enough, in the Middle
East, religious leaders who originally opposed modernization now use it –
radio, TV, the Internet.
The change is very apparent in the Middle East and parts of Asia, for
Islamic fundamentalism has had a great political impact in Afghanistan,
Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. From the 1979
hostage taking in Iranto the September 11 attacks, Western attention has
focused more and more on religion and politics.
The meeting of church and state