Religious conservatism and politics

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An unborn child in the womb. Liberals believe that the unborn child has no right to life.

Numerous differences exist between conservatives and liberals. This article compares the two ideologies (see: Conservative vs. liberal).

Religious conservatism is growing in the world (see also: Growth of evangelical Christianity and Growth of Islam).[1] In addition, the irreligious population is declining in the world as a percentage of the global population (see: Desecularization).

In recent years, the secular left has experienced a number of defeats such as Brexit, the 2016 election of Donald Trump, the growth of right-wing parties in Europe and the passing of anti-homosexuality laws in Africa/Russia (see: Decline of the secular left).

The Birkbeck College, University of London professor Eric Kaufmann wrote in his 2010 book Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? concerning the United States:

High evangelical fertility rates more than compensated for losses to liberal Protestant sects during the twentieth century. In recent decades, white secularism has surged, but Latino and Asian religious immigration has taken up the slack, keeping secularism at bay. Across denominations, the fertility advantage of religious fundamentalists of all colours is significant and growing. After 2020, their demographic weight will begin to tip the balance in the culture wars towards the conservative side, ramping up pressure on hot-button issues such as abortion. By the end of the century, three quarters of America may be pro-life. Their activism will leap over the borders of the 'Redeemer Nation' to evangelize the world. Already, the rise of the World Congress of Families has launched a global religious right, its arms stretching across the bloody lines of the War on Terror to embrace the entire Abrahamic family.[2]

At a conference Kaufmann said of religious demographic projections concerning the 21st century, "Religious fundamentalism is going to be on the increase in the future and not just out there in the developing world..., but in the developed world as well."[3]

Religious conservatism, atheism and anti-homosexuality laws

See also: Homosexuality laws

Religious conservatism and anti-homosexuality laws

In 2016, the Independent reported that homosexuality is illegal in 74 countries.[4] Islamic countries ban homosexuality. Russia which has seen a resurgence of religion now has a law against promoting homosexuality.[5]

A study conducted by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life says that Africans are among the most religious people on Earth (see also: Black atheism).[6] In addition, evangelical Christianity is growing quickly in Africa. In North Africa Islam is the majority religion. In 2015, out of the 55 states recognised by the United Nations or African Union, 34 of them outlaw homosexuality.[7].

In 2014, The Telegraph reported about Uganda's 2014 anti-homosexuality law:

But Mr Lokodo, a former evangelical Christian pastor whose support for the anti-gay laws helped win him the job as Mr Museveni’s minister for ethics and integrity, was unapologetic.

“Why should we apologise? This is our choice, not that of some outsiders,” he said in his first interview with Western media since the act was signed into law on Monday. “We have asked respected experts and scientists and they have found homosexuality is not there by birth - it is learned, it is chosen, therefore it is nurtured by someone. “Those who recruit minors, children, to their homosexuality with promises of gifts and money, they are intolerable, and the law is there now and we will arrest them all. They will be in prison for life.”[8]

In February of 2014, Newsweek reported a rise of anti-homosexuality laws around the world. [9] According to Newsweek, the rise of anti-homosexuality laws in the world is due to weak governments and politicians desiring to appeal to popular anti-homosexuality opinion.[10]

A British Muslim interviewed by a British journalist said she thought homosexuals "are a lost cause".[11]

Atheism and anti-homosexuality laws

The régime under militant atheist Fidel Castro "denounced homosexuality and established Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which patrolled neighborhoods and invaded private space."[12]

See also: Atheism and homosexuality and Atheist actions against homosexuals

The conservative journalist Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth wrote: "Anyone who has researched the subject of homosexuality knows that many of the most staunch advocates of homosexuality are those who hold a decidedly secular outlook."[13]

At the same time, atheistic communist regimes in history historically have often taken a negative view of homosexuality and within Western World atheism, there is a segment of that atheist population which takes a negative view of homosexuality. See: Atheist actions against homosexuals.

In the atheistic communist state of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR),[14] "a person could end up in prison for being openly gay."[15] This policy was enforced after 1934, and went hand in hand with the Soviet Union's official doctrine of militant atheism, which led to the persecution of Christians in the USSR.[16]

In the formerly atheist state of Cuba, "in the 1960s and 1970s, the Castro regime persecuted openly gay Cubans".[17] A major element in Cuba's anti-gay policies was the fact that the "government adopted the Stalinist position, practiced in the Soviet Union, that homosexuality is a form of bourgeois decadence."[18] As such, "Cuba sent openly gay men to labor camps without charge or trial", with Fidel Castro admitting to committing these crimes against humanity.[19] Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Production (UMAP) camps included both homosexuals, as well as the religious, who were tortured and incarcerated.[20]

Although Chinese literature cites homosexual practice since ancient times as one that was fairly tolerated,[21] after the Chinese Communist Party, which officially espouses atheism, came to power in 1949, homosexuality was deemed a sexual crime and then classified as an abnormal (buzhengchang) mental illness.[22][23] Under the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, homosexuals experienced punishment that ranged from "labor under surveillance to imprisonment for years".[21] Moreover, atheistic communist officials "when queried by foreign visitors, until recently simply denied that homosexuality existed in China".[24]

Atheism, homosexuality, pedophilia and NAMBLA

Many consider atheist Harry Hay to be the founder of the American homosexual movement.

See also: Homosexuality and pedophilia and Atheism and homosexuality and Atheism, pederasty and NAMBLA

The North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) was founded in December 1978 and is an activist homosexuality and pedophilia/pederasty coalition group.

Some of the well known atheist advocates of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) are:

1. The atheist and homosexual David Thorstad was a founding member of the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).[25]

2. Harry Hay (1912 - 2002) was a liberal atheist advocate of statutory rape and the widely acknowledged founder and progenitor of the activist homosexual agenda in the United States.[26][26][27] Hay joined the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) in 1934.[28] He was a vociferous advocate of man/boy love.[26][27] In 1986, Hay marched in a gay parade wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words "NAMBLA walks with me."[29]

3. The writer Samuel R. Delaney is an atheist and a homosexual.[30][31] Delaney said he was a supporter of NAMBLA.[32]

See also: Atheism and child pornography and Teenage homosexuality and Homosexuality and pedophilia

Europe, religious conservatism and 21st century politics

See also: European desecularization in the 21st century

Austria's census data permits demographers to perform analysis which indicates the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021.[33]

Concerning the future of religion/secularism in Europe, professor Eric Kaufmann wrote:

We have performed these unprecedented analyses on several cases. Austria offers us a window into what the future holds. Its census question on religious affiliation permits us to perform cohort component projections, which show the secular population plateauing by 2050, or as early as 2021 if secularism fails to attract lapsed Christians and new Muslim immigrants at the same rate as it has in the past. (Goujon, Skirbekk et al. 2006).

This task will arguably become far more difficult as the supply of nominal Christians dries up while more secularisation-resistant Muslims and committed rump Christians comprise an increasing share of the population.[34]

In his 2011 paper Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, Kaufmann wrote about Europe and social conservatism:

In the Europe of tomorrow, immigration and religious fertility will increase the proportion of committed Muslims and Christians, many from the developing world. It may seem fanciful to imagine a moral conservatism uniting white and nonwhite Christians as well as Muslims against 'secular humanists'. However, a version of this process has occurred in the United States, and it can be argued that the cocktail of cultural relativism, secular exhaustion and demographic change is even more potent in Europe than America. The division between native ethnic groups and immigrant groups is currently more important in Europe, but as the Muslim and religious Christian minorities grow, they will become as important for conservative politicians as the religious Hispanics of America whom the Republicans have so assiduously courted. At some point, it will make more electoral sense for European conservatives to appeal to a trans-ethnic coalition of moral conservatives than it will to stress anti-immigrant themes and ethno-nationalism. The liberal-left will find it extremely difficult to craft a defense of secularism given its investment in cultural relativism, the exhaustion of its secular religions, and its laissez-faire attitude to demographic change.

Standing back from the fray, we can think of demography as the achilles heel of liberalism. Rather than economic contradictions between capital and labour (Marx), or cultural contradictions between work and leisure (Bell), this book highlights the demographic contradictions between individualism and reproduction inherent in the liberal-capitalist model.[35]

UK and sharia law

See also: Sharia law and Atheism vs. Islam

Richard Dawkins
The new atheist Richard Dawkins declared "Christianity may actually be our best defence against aberrant forms of religion that threaten the world".[36][37] See also: Richard Dawkins and Islam

Sharia law is the body of Islamic law. The term means "way" or "path"; it is the legal framework within which public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Muslim principles of jurisprudence. It is not actually part of the canonical Qur'an; that is to say, it is not believed to be the direct word of Allah by Muslims, but rather the interpretation of it.

Sharia deals with many aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, sexuality, and social issues. Some Islamic scholars accept Sharia as the body of precedent and legal theory established before the 19th century, while other scholars view Sharia as a changing body, and include Islamic legal theory from the contemporary period.

There is not a strictly codified uniform set of laws pertaining to Sharia. It is more like a system of devising laws, based on the Qur'an, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent.

The Express reported in 2016 titled SHOCK POLL: Four in ten British Muslims want some aspect of Sharia Law enforced in UK:

Forty-three per cent of followers of the religion living in the country believed that parts of the Islamic legal system should replace British law while only 22 per cent opposed the idea.

Researchers also found "deeply worrying" levels of belief among British Muslims in conspiracy theories such as blaming the US government or “Jews" for the 9/11 terror attacks on America.

The findings were revealed last night in one of the biggest surveys of opinion among Muslims ever carried out in the UK. Data from the polling firm ICM showed very similar views to the rest of the UK population on a range of key issues including the NHS, unemployment and immigration.[38]

The Express indicated in a 2016 article entitled Theresa May forced to defend views on Sharia Law as she prepares to enter No 10

May sparked controversy when she spoke out in support of the Islamic courts operating in the country, telling the nation they could "benefit a great deal" from Sharia teachings.

The future Tory leader made the comments as she ordered a review into the system which are accused of ordering women to stay with abusive partners.

Mrs May, said she is worried the courts are "misused" and "exploited" to discriminate against Muslim women, but defended their place in society.

Sharia is Islam's legal system derived from both the Koran, Islam's central text, and fatwas - the rulings of Islamic scholars.

There are thought to be around 100 Sharia Law courts operating throughout the UK, dispensing Islamic justice outside the remit of our own legal system.

Judgements handed down by the informal courts have no legal basis, but there are fears their presence means many Muslim women are not getting access to the justice they deserve.

Now, before she takes over Number 10, May has been forced to restate her position on Sharia Law.[39]

Berger's The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics

See also: Desecularization and politics

Peter L. Berger is an Austrian-born American sociologist best known for his work in the fields of the sociology of knowledge/religion, the study of modernization, and various theoretical contributions to sociology.

The Publisher's Weekly review of his 1999 book The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics declares:

In the 1950s and 1960s, Berger, Harvey Cox and others were fearless proponents of "secularization theory." This theory held that as technology improved and modernity advanced upon culture, religion would begin to decline and we would live, according to Cox, in a "secular city." Cox reversed himself in Religion in the Secular City (1984), declaring that the future of religion lay in grassroots movements such as fundamentalism, Pentecostalism and liberation theology. Now, Berger gathers a number of essays contending that, far from being in decline in the modern world, religion is actually experiencing a resurgence. In his opening essay, Berger asserts that "the assumption we live in a secularized world is false.... The world today is as furiously religious as it ever was." He points out that religious movements have not adapted to secular culture in order to survive but have successfully developed their own identities and retained a focus on the supernatural in their beliefs and practices. Berger then examines the origins, and ponders the future, of this global religious resurgence. ...He also provides a brief overview of the impact of religion on economic development, war and peace, human rights and social justice. Other essayists contribute "Roman Catholicism in the Age of John Paul II" (George Weigel), "The Evangelical Protestant Upsurge and Its Political Implications" (David Martin), "Judaism and Politics in the Modern World" (Jonathan Sacks), "Europe: The Exception That Proves the Rule?" (Grace Davie), "The Quest for Meaning: Religion in the People's Republic of China" (Tu Weiming) and "Political Islam in National Politics and International Relations" (Abdullahi A. An-Na'im). Berger's collection is replete with compelling writing about the relationship of religion and politics.[40]

See also

Notes

  1. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  2. Why is the year 2020 a key year for Christian creationists and pro-lifers?
  3. Eric Kaufmann - Religion, Demography and Politics in the 21st Century
  4. LGBT relationships are illegal in 74 countries, research finds, Independent, 2016
  5. Gay rights in Russia: Facts and Myths
  6. Why so many Africans are religious: Leo Igwe
  7. How many African states outlaw same-sex relations? (At least 34), Africa Check
  8. Keep your gays and keep your aid, Uganda tells the West, The Telegraph, 2014
  9. From Uganda to Russia, Homophobia Spreading Worldwide By Max Strasser 2/27/14 at 6:13 AM
  10. From Uganda to Russia, Homophobia Spreading Worldwide By Max Strasser 2/27/14 at 6:13 AM
  11. 'Gays are a Lost Cause' Says Moderate Muslim
  12. Pickett, Brent L. (9 February 2009). The A to Z of Homosexuality. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810870727. Retrieved on 28 April 2014. “Fidel Castro's regime denounced homosexuality and established Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, which patrolled neighborhoods and invaded private space.” 
  13. Atheism and homosexuality
  14. Demchenko, Elena (2009). Religion and Identity of Soviet Jewish Immigrants in the United States. ProQuest. ISBN 9781109121865. Retrieved on 28 April 2014. “The USSR declared itself the first atheist state in the world that discouraged any religion and persecuted those who tried to contradict the Marxist ideology.” 
  15. Shiraev, Eric (2014-03-04). A History of Psychology. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781452276595. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “In the Soviet Union before 1990, a person could end up in prison for being openly gay.” 
  16. Turgeon, Lynn (1989). State & Discrimination: The Other Side of the Cold War (in English). M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 9780765621733. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Homosexual acts between consenting males only became illegal in early 1934. To this day, some of these acts are punishable by five years' imprisonment. A highly publicized case occurred in 1974, when the celebrated Georgian movie director, Sergei Paradzhanov, was sentenced to six years' imprisonment for practicing homosexuality and incitement to suicide. Historical, there has been extensive discrimination in the USSR on both religious and political grounds. Religious persecution and the pursuit of atheistic educational policies by the state were especially great before World War II and, particularly, after a resolution of April 8, 1929, "On Religious Cults."” 
  17. Chapman, Thomas E. (2007). Constructing the Moral Landscape Through Antidiscrimination Law: Discourse, Debate, and Dialogue of Sexual Citizenship in Three Florida Communities. ProQuest. ISBN 9780549469575. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Among the so-called "unwanted" were as many as 3,000 openly homosexual Cubans. At various points in the 1960s and 1970s, the Castro regime persecuted openly gay Cubans, despite the progressive thrust of the ideas of the Communist Revolution, which did substantially improve the conditions of other oppressed minority groups such as women and blacks.” 
  18. Chapman, Thomas E. (2007). Constructing the Moral Landscape Through Antidiscrimination Law: Discourse, Debate, and Dialogue of Sexual Citizenship in Three Florida Communities. ProQuest. ISBN 9780549469575. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Another element contributing to Cuba's past anti-gay policies was for a time, the government adopted the Stalinist position, practiced in the Soviet Union, that homosexuality is a form of bourgeois decadence.” 
  19. Darlington, Shasta (31 August 2010). Castro admits 'injustice' for gays and lesbians during revolution - CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said he acknowledges the persecution of gays and lesbians during the Revolution in his country, according to a newspaper interview published Tuesday. Throughout the 1960s and '70s, Cuba sent openly gay men to labor camps without charge or trial. "They were moments of great injustice, great injustice!" Castro told journalist Carmen Lira Saade from the Mexican daily La Jornada. "If someone is responsible, it's me."”
  20. Berenschot, Denis Jorge (January 2005). Performing Cuba: (Re)writing Gender Identity and Exile Across Genres. Peter Lang. ISBN 9780820474403. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Similar problems are recounted in Senel Paz's shorty story when Diego lists the problems he has with the Castroist regime. This list read as a topography of all the coercive strategies of the militarist authoritarian moral codes of the regime. They included persecution of homosexuals, religious people, torture and incarceration in the UMAP camps.” 
  21. 21.0 21.1 (2 June 2003) The Mental Health Professions and Homosexuality: International Perspectives. CRC Press. ISBN 9780789020598. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Homosexuality was widespread, recognized and fairly tolerated, although not entirely accepted, in ancient China.” 
  22. (27 August 2011) Deep China: The Moral Life of the Person. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520950511. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Chinese literature citing homosexuality dates back to ancient times. After the Chinese Communist Party took over the country in 1949, homosexuality was deemed a sexual crime until 1997 and then classified as a mental disorder until 2001.” 
  23. (6 December 2012) The Price of Freedom Denied: Religious Persecution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781139492416. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “Atheism had long been the official doctrine of the Chinese Communist Party, but this new form of militant atheism made every effort to eradicate religion completely.” 
  24. Crompton, Louis (2006). Homosexuality and Civilization. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674030060. Retrieved on 25 April 2014. “In Chinese history and literature, until the end of the Imperial age and the triumph of Marxism, men who loved men were depicted as good or bad, sympathetic or self-seeking, honest or dishonest, talented or undistinguished, but not set apart as a race to be humiliated, denounced, or extirpated. Under Communist rule, however, there has been a radical change. Chinese Communist officials, when queried by foreign visitors, until recently simply denied that homosexuality existed in China, the theory being that under a socialist economy social ills such as prostitution and homosexuality would vanish.” 
  25. http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/100822
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2010/ss_politics0010_01_07.asp
  27. 27.0 27.1 The American Spectator Special Report, When Nancy Met Harry, Jeffrey Lord, 10/5/2006.
  28. The Boston Phoenix, The real Harry Hay, Michael Bronski, October 31 - November 7, 2002.
  29. http://www.mega.nu/ampp/baldwin_pedophilia_homosexuality.pdf
  30. Samuel R. Delaney, About writing: seven essays, four letters, and five interviews, page 36
  31. http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-literary-criticism/delany-samuel-r
  32. Delany, Samuel R.; Freedman, Carl (2009). Conversations with Samuel R. Delany. Univ. Press of Mississippi, page 143
  33. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  34. Kaufmann
  35. Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann, Belfer Center, Harvard University/Birkbeck College, University of London
  36. Richard Dawkins says Christianity is world's best defence against radical Islam, Christianity Today, January 2016
  37. Professional Atheist Dawkins Says Christianity ‘Bulwark Against Something Worse’, by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D, Breitbart News Network, Jan 12, 2016
  38. SHOCK POLL: Four in ten British Muslims want some aspect of Sharia Law enforced in UK, Express, 2016
  39. Theresa May forced to defend views on Sharia Law as she prepares to enter No 10, Express, 2016
  40. The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics, Amazon