Interfaith Roundtable on Religion and Politics
The role of religion in politics remains fraught with controversy. From the United States Declaration of Independence’s invocation of the ‘Creator’ endowing men with ‘certain unalienable Rights’, to the inscription on the Saudi flag reading ‘there is no God but Allah, Mohammed is the Prophet of Allah’, many states were founded on principles inspired by religion. On the other hand, there are many who reject the role of religion in politics. In France, the principle of Laʩcité strictly divides the religious from the political. Meanwhile, secularist advocates in the United States have advocated for the removal of references to God on public buildings and currency. This roundtable discussion seeks to bring together a wide range of faiths to discuss the proper role of religion in politics. Does politics inevitably converge with religion? Or should religion, in this modern and increasingly secular age, decouple itself from politics?
Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School. A late medieval and early modern historian, he has written foundational texts on the Reformation and Calvinism. Most recently, he has authored a book on the life of Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli.
Founder and President of the Secular Coalition for America and a Professor Emeritus at the College of Charleston. A committed atheist, he successfully struck down South Carolina’s religious requirement for public office and has authored various advocacy pieces in favour of secularism.
Dr Miri Freud-Kandel
Fellow and Lecturer in Modern Judaism at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She was co-Editor of Modern Judaism: An Oxford Guide and has written extensively on Orthodox Judaism in modern Britain.