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Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

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Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

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  1. Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion Foreign policy experts in the United States have gradually begun to focus on religion in recent years as an important diplomatic tool for U.S. Foreign Policy. The Trump administration recently stated that they are against religious discrimination citing violations of human right from groups like ISIS, hate speech, and religious persecution of Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. Of late, Trump nominated Gov. Sam Brownback as ambassador for religious freedom. If confirmed by the Senate, he will begin his term as the ambassador for religious freedom where many argue that religious freedom in the world is rapidly deteriorating. Even though, religion has played an important role in preventing international conflict through nonviolent means. To rectify this concern, the State Department opened up a new religious engagement office to work with faith based leaders, i.e., direct engagement with religious leaders.2 The seeds for this began in 2011 when Secretary Clinton encouraged international religious freedom and focused on how the current global influence of religion affected foreign affairs.3 As Cordesman suggested, “If there is any one lesson that last decade should have taught us, we cannot ensure our security through unilateral action or by trying to impose our values on other states and peoples. If we cannot make (Muslims)—as well as Buddhist, Hindus, and other faiths—our lasting partners, we not only will lose the struggle against counterterrorism, we will lose the world.” Armed Forces chaplains need to be aware that religion is an important component in Foreign Affairs. Building bridges of understanding through lasting partnerships with faith based traditions will increase our ability to provide stability in conflicted areas so that we do not “lose the world.” 1Kathrine Burgess, “Brownback poised for Ambassordorship as Global Religious Freedom Deteriorates, The Wichita Eagle, August 31, 2017, accessed August 31, 2017, http://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article170575552.html. 2Peter Mandaville, “Taking Religious Engagement in Foreign Policy Seriously,” Up Front, June 7, 2013, accessed August 12, 2013, http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2013/06/07-religious-engagement-foreign-policy-mandaville. 3“Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society,” U.S. Department of State-Diplomacy in Action, accessed June 12, 2013, http://www.state.gov/s/sacsed/c47725.html. 4Anthony H. Cordesman, “The Lessons and Challenges of September 2011—the New ‘9/11,” Center for Strategic &International Studies, accessed August 12, 2013, http://csis.org/publication/lessons-and-challenges-September-2011-new-911.

  2. Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

  3. Armed Forces chaplains need to be aware that religion is an important component in Foreign Affairs. Building bridges of understanding through lasting partnerships with faith based traditions will increase our ability to provide stability in conflicted areas so that we do not “lose the world.” Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion Agenda: 1. Overview of Class 2. Student Dialogue and Discussion of Questions

  4. a. In the following statements Timothy Shah suggests that, “Much classical thinking and practice in world affairs is thus a form of border patrol. It is concerned with policing and strengthening the fence between two worlds. The first world is the “secular” and “public” world in which international actors—nation states and the multilateral organizations that bind them together—are presumed to make rational choices in the pursuit of political and economic power. The second world is the “spiritual” and “private” world in which religious organizations such as Al Qaeda and Hezbollah—are presumed to make faith-based choices about their pursuit of non-rational or irrational goals.” (see Rethinking, 3) Do you agree or disagree with these propositions? Are they two separate universes with minimal contact? How should these two worlds correspond? In what ways is the distinction helpful/harmful? In what way will understanding these distinctions help you as a chaplain? (Garrett) Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

  5. What is the paradox that Hehir refers to concerning scholars and religion in international affairs? (see Rethinking, 15) What caused this benign disregard for religion in international relations—be familiar with the three major changes. (See Hehir, p. 16) What impact did the treaty of Westphalia, i.e., transition from universalism to modern sovereignty have on this issue? (see , Rethinking 17) (Devin) • Timothy Shah quotes Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, who said “Diplomats trained in my era were taught not to invite trouble. And no subject seemed more inherently treacherous than religion.” What does she mean by this? What is the meaning of religion as a “black box” concerning religion and foreign policy? (See Rethinking, 18) (Jared) Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

  6. d. In what way is Samuel Huntington’s thesis concerning the “Clash of Civilizations” helpful in understanding today’s relationship between religion, and the global political environment? What perspective does does David Brook give in his OpEd concerning “The Clash of Civilizations.” (Levi) e. David Brooks’ article on “Kicking the Secularist Habit,” infers that he is a recovering secularist. He developed the six steps of recovery. What steps were intriguing? What steps can you relate to? Be prepared to discuss his model of recovery, i.e., “beating the secularist prejudices out of our mind daily.” (see handout) (Erik) Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

  7. What is the central theme of “God is Back”? In your own opinion, how has the global revival of faith influenced international relations, and is “religion” indeed a part of the modern religious world or is it still a private vs. a public concern? (see God is Back, 1-27) (Tyson) g. Extra Thought: In President Obama’s letter from the White House, what is his bottom line? Do you agree or disagree with his conclusions. What are the possible effects of sequestration on the Armed Forces and can the United States still remain a force for freedom and world security (Suggested Readings, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership-White House Washington, and January 3, 2013)? (see handout) (VT/ABB) Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion

  8. Questions? Lesson 1: Resurgence of Religion