There’s an interesting Emilio Gentile interview on “sacralization of politics”:
DH How do you see the sacralization of politics extending into the 21st century?
EG It’s been present in modern times since the American and French revolutions. We need to distinguish it from any type of politicized religion in old and present times.
In the Egyptian monarchy, the pharaoh was a god, or a son of a god, or embodied the god. In the Roman Empire, after Christianization, the emperor was in a sense consecrated by the church. And the Christian monarchs in Europe were always consecrated by institutional religion. This is not sacralization of politics in the sense that politics has become a religion. It is a politicization of a religion—the use of religion to sanctify monarchs in terms of the traditional gods, or the God of the Bible. In the period after the French and American revolutions, you have the secular entity of the nation. The nation is not a person, nor does the church consecrate it. It is consecrated because it is a new secular entity now conveying the meaning of life. The sacralization of politics is politics becoming religious, independent of the traditional church. It was not the pope who consecrated Hitler as the leader; it was not the pope who consecrated Napoleon (and I mean more than the fact that Napoleon took the crown from the pope and placed it on his own head). The sacralization of politics in modern terms is an autonomous form of religion based on politics, not on traditional church-state religion.
The rest of the interview is here.
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan has a nice collection of link here.
George Tiller, a doctor and abortion rights activist was shot at his church in Wichita Kansan this morning:
WICHITA – George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion, was shot to death this morning as he walked into church services.
Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. at Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.
No information has been released about whether a suspect is in custody. Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB.
I thought we were done with that sort of things in the 1990s. We should probably thanks hysterical right-wing radio/TV hosts for exciting the crazies and making them think it’s the end of the world or something. I’m sure they’ll do anything for the ratings, right?
Still, shot in a church? Do they have any standards at all? Outrageous!
So a woman in France is suing The Church of Scientology for fraud – apparently after a “free” psychological test she was pressured into paying large sums of money:
The woman at the centre of the case says she was approached by church members in Paris 10 years ago, and offered a free personality test. But, she says, she ended up spending 21,000 euros ($29,400, £18,400) on lessons, books and medicines she was told would cure her poor mental state.
Her lawyers are arguing that the church systematically seeks to make money by means of mental pressure and the use of scientifically dubious “cures”.
Does that mean if she wins I can sue my old university for giving me a scholarship and then demanding I pay up when it ended in three years? Was there a mental pressure to graduate and make something of myself? Interesting.
A discussion of a new book – God is Back: How the Revival of Religion is Changing the World, by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge – on the issue of religion, sounds like a sensible position:
I wondered if they realised the alarm with which rationalists and atheists would greet their suggestions that as democracy increases around the world we should expect to see the emergence of more “parties of God”. Did they recognise that this was a kind of nightmare for many of us? “If the parties of God are Hezbollah then they are nightmares for us too,” says Micklethwait. “The thing is, when democracy is concerned the secular-minded always think that people will go off and vote for ‘normal guys’ but of course they don’t. It’s not just the most oppressed who do this – in India and Turkey the educated bourgeoisie, exactly the people who should be the most secular, the driving force of the economy, have flooded towards religiously inspired parties.”
This is not necessarily a welcome development for either Micklethwait or Wooldridge. They are pragmatists. Religion is there, and you have to deal with it.
Although Shahar’s repeated reaction to this book and to the very idea of the book has been, and I suspect will be for a long time, if not fovever, a prolonged yawn followed but a dismissinve sigh (yes, only Shahar can actually sigh dismissively), I am still somewhat intrigued by it, probably due to hearing Zizek say a few things about Christianity at Syracuse this past weekend. Plus, it’s a good distraction from all the seriousness of undying Realism Wars™, so I might give it a chance, at least I will probably read Zizek’s essays and I am very likely to skip John Milbank – anyone else intended on reading it?
It does exist and it is not studying “creation” as in “creativity” – it is studying “creationism” – “does God exist?” you wonder – wonder no more:
While absolute proof of the existence of God cannot be realized by any human being, the great weight of evidence, when rationally evaluated, clearly balances the scales heavily in favor of God. We can demonstrate “beyond a reasonable doubt” that “He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
That’s a quote, friends! Demonstrating “beyond a reasonable doubt” apparently means quoting the Bible – read on.