In Paris in the autumn of 1989 three Muslim girls, observing their own religious custom, went to school wearing Muslim headscarves. The ensuing political storm, which continued unabated into 1990, has brought sharply into focus one of the fundamental questions related to Western democracy: the nature of the relationship between religion and the state. The 'scarves affair' was primarily a dispute between practitioners of Islam and the secular state. However, the controversy in France and similar recent controversies elsewhere have forced a general and radical reappraisal of the wide and complex.
An examination of historical problems created by religion highlights claims that one's power is a direct product of a Divine Right that gives a particular nation or leader a monopoly on truth. Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schroder said he was shocked when US President George W. Bush confided that he was "driven with a mission from God." Historians recognize that the current conflicts between the West & the Islamic world are rooted in the Age of Crusades & Arabic conquests in Europe when those of one religion fought peoples of other faiths to expand their own spheres of influence. It is argued that diversity is at the core of human evolution & no one can claim a monopoly on truth. Religion is a weighty factor in today's global rivalry & confrontations over different values & development models, as well as many other urgent global issues, including the current financial crisis. Emphasis is placed on the critical need to recognize the problems created by religion's mounting impact before it is too late. J. Lindroth
Containing over 200 articles from prominent scholars, The Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion examines ways in which politics and religion have combined to affect social attitudes, spark collective action and influence policy over the last two hundred years. With a focus that covers broad themes like millenarian movements and pluralism, and a scope that takes in religious and political systems throughout the world, the Encyclopedia is essential for its contemporary as well as historical coverage. Special Features:* Encompasses religions, individuals, geographical.