international relations

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Sunday Quote! – Secularism as necessary in the Political Sphere?

psir-hurdEvery Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!

Secularism in International Politics

The quote this week is from Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, The Politics of Secularism in International Relations, a book which makes me reminisce upon The Myth of Religious Violence by William Cavinaugh. The book is about how secularism comes into play with international relations, and how secularism is often turned into the wielding of power of the secularist over the religious other. Here’s a juicy quote explaining one of the products of secularism:

“[T]he objective of laicism is to create a neutral public space in which religious belief, practices, and institutions have lost their political significance… The mixing of religion and politics is regarded as irrational and dangerous. For modernization to take hold, religion must be separated from politics… Laicism adopts and expresses a pretense of neutrality… This makes it difficult for those who have been shaped by and draw upon this tradition [laicism] to see the limitations of their own conceptions of religion and politics.” -Elizabeth Hurd, “The Politics of Secularism in International Relations,” 5.

What do you think of the concept of laicism based upon this quote? Have you heard of it before? What are your thoughts on the possibility of the presumption of secularism in politics?


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Book Review: “The Myth of Religious Violence” by William T.  Cavanaugh– I review the book which has led me to discuss the ways the category of religion is used to stigmatize the other and also forced me to rethink a number of issues. I highly recommend this book.



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