To the surprise of both academics and policy-makers, religion has not been relegated entirely to the private sphere; quite the contrary. Over the last few decades, religion has begun to play a significant role in public affairs and, in many cases, directly in political systems.
Edited by Lucas Ozzano, Religiously Oriented Parties and Democratization (Routledge, 2014) analyses in detail how religion and religious precepts inform the ideology, strategies and electoral behaviour of political parties. Working with an original and innovative typology of religiously oriented political parties, the book examines cases from different regions of the world and different religious traditions to highlight the significance of religion for party politics. Through cases studies from Italy and Ireland, Europe is not forgotten. Link.
France's National Front stormed to victory: 25% (24 seats); Classical right UMP 21%; President Hollande's Socialists got a poor third with less than 14%.
For observers of the French religious scene, these elections have also signed the end of a lasting feature: French Catholic's tendency to boost Europe and to reject far-right National Front.
The globalization process brings specific issues: who will control the dynamics of the global capitalist economy? Two famous authors, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, emphasize in two well-known books, Empire and Multitude, that an imperial trend is currently working.
Its aim is domination, domination, and profit.
What about the religious factor? What about the role of Evangelicals in empire?
Our French President has recently drawn criticism after one of his speeches during his visit to the Vatican.
In front of the highest Roman Catholic Clergy, he emphasized the importance of the French "christian roots" (mainly Catholic), while he also pleaded for a "positive" version of "laïcité" (laicity, sometimes translated by secularism).
Both France and the USA do like to teach the World about values. These two great democracies share a common emphasis on universal rights, and it is no surprise if the world debate about the Iraqi war in 2003 turned around what France and what the US had to say.
How to explain that? By going back to History, particularly in studying the relationship between politics and religion in France and the US. This is what this new book is about.
In this regard, «Religion and Politics in America» is a typical «tarte à la crème». A very good (and important) topic, but hard to digest. Too many books, too many opinions, too many passions.
This particular book, however, deserves to be savoured more than others.