In the debate over slavery that took place in America in the nineteenth century, apologists for both sides appealed to Christianity, the Union's dominant religion, to justify their respective cases. George Armstrong, in his 1857 book The Christian Doctrine of Slavery, stated that, [I]t appears to us too clear to admit of either denial or doubt, that the Scriptures do sanction slave-holding; that under the old dispensation it was expressly permitted by divine command. Writing several years earlier, George Bourne called such readings of the Christian Bible perversions that produced a slaveholding Christianity, the propagation of which has been visibly followed by the displeasure of God. What is interesting to note about this debate is that both authors assumed that appealing to the religious sensibilities of the majority of the (empowered) population would be sufficient to sway the undecided reader to their respective positions. While one's views on slavery might have determined one's interpretation of Christianity rather than the other way around, these sources show that Americans felt compelled to justify their political views based on religious beliefs.
[...] The importance of religious belief to groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt stands in marked contrast to the identity politics persistent in Lebanon. The Maronite community is a prime example of this. Despite the fact that the Maronite church has its own theology and rites, its spiritual life is virtually indistinguishable from Roman Catholicism. Even in diaspora Maronites pray to French saints at least as often as they pray to Lebanese saints. Even the Maronite liturgy is essentially an oriental Roman Catholic Mass. [...]
[...] Hasan states that she believes that communal politics in Egypt is a confluence of many factors, her book Christian versus Muslim in Modern Egypt often implies that religion is the only political issue. Additionally, Thomas Friedman's From Beirut to Jerusalem, while very good in describing the situation during the Lebanese Civil War, sometimes slips into this same reductionism. See Ahmad Shboul. In addition to arguing that both state and opposition manipulate religion for power, his essay “Between Rhetoric and Reality: Islam and Politics in the Arab World” argues, not entirely convincingly, that the goal of many in the Muslim Brotherhood is a semi- secular social justice program in Egypt. See Wilson, 111-112. [...]
[...] Egypt's Road to Jerusalem: A Diplomat's Story of the Struggle for Peace in the Middle East. New York: Random House ibid Robert Springborg. Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order. London: Westview Press Boutros-Ghali Kirk J. Beattie. Egypt During the Sadat Years. New York: Palgrave See Anwar Sadat. In Search of an Identity: An Autobiography. New York: Harper & Row Publishers Samer S. Shehata. Politics of Laughter: Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarek in Egyptian Political Jokes,” Folklore 103, no (1992): 75- “Cairo Said to Promise Copts It Will Resist Islamic [...]
[...] However, this study has identified, contrary to the claims of scholars on both sides of the Western political spectrum, two types of religious politics in the Middle East and has provided an example of each. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in Egypt interpret Islam in a certain way and attempts to enforce shari'a on the body politic out of genuine belief in a particular type of Islam. Members of the Maronite church in Lebanon, on the other hand, while looking out for perceived community needs, are not motivated by any particular religious belief, and indeed the religious leadership often seeks to distance itself from political actions done in the community's name. [...]
[...] “Between Rhetoric and Reality: Islam and Politics in the Arab World,” in Islam and Politics in the Modern World, ed. A. Johns and N. Lahoud, London & New York: Routledge Shehata, Samer S. Politics of Laughter: Nasser, Sadat, and Mubarek in Egyptian Political Jokes,” Folklore 103, no (1992): 75-91. Springborg, Robert. Mubarak's Egypt: Fragmentation of the Political Order. London: Westview Press Washington Post, September 1977-September 1981. Wilson, Brian. Religion in Sociological Perspective. New York: Oxford University Press George Dodd Armstrong. [...]
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