Divine Interventions
By Rick Salutin

Religion and politics has always been a risky, combustible mix. Faiths like Judaism, Christianity and Islam were all born in poltical crises: the Hebrew slaves’ flight from Egypt, Jesus’s crucifixion by Roman authorities, Muhammad’s expulsion from Mecca. Religions have regularly made merciless war on each other and forcefully converted non-believers while claiming God was on their side. As Rick Salutin writes in his Star Dispatches ebook Divine Interventions: Where Faith and Politics Intersect, the aggressive presence of religions remains a feature of politics today: there are fundamentalist, politicized versions of almost every religion. When in power, faith-based parties seem intent on rolling back the kind of tolerant secular societies that only recently emerged. Wouldn’t the world be well rid of religion, as the “new atheists” argue? Salutin takes a different point of view. Religions aren’t going anywhere, he argues, and politics will always be with us. In that light, is it possible that religion has some positive contributions to make in the political context, both now and in the future?



Single copies of Star Dispatches eReads can be purchased for $2.99 at starstore.ca or itunes.ca/stardispatches






Excerpt:
Divine Interventions

“Those who thought that religion could be separate from politics understand neither religion nor politics.”
— Gandhi

Religion and politics has always been a risky, combustible mix. Faiths like Judaism, Christianity and Islam were all born in political crises: the Hebrew slaves’ flight from Egypt, Jesus’ Crucifixion
by Roman authorities, Muhammad’s expulsion from Mecca. Religions have regularly made merciless war on each other and conquered and forcefully converted non-believers — all the while
claiming God was on their side. And not only in the distant past:the aggressive presence of religions is a feature of politics today.

There are fundamentalist, politicized versions of almost every faith. Religion-based parties make demands on governments, try to displace them and often succeed. In power, they seem intent on rolling back the kind of tolerant secular societies that only recently emerged. Wouldn’t the world be well rid of the damage religion does, as the “new atheists” argue?


But religions aren’t going anywhere, and politics will always be with us. In that light, is it possible that religion has some positive contributions to make in the political context — not only in the present but also in the future?