Free Essay

Analysis of Fall Outs with Secularism

In: Social Issues

Submitted By dighe
Words 1783
Pages 8
Analysis of Fall-outs with Secularism

Secularism is one of the most important aspects in the present Indian socio – political – economic scene. Unfortunately, Secularism in the present Indian context seems to be incomplete due to the intermingling of religion with politics and thus Secularism has been criticized by many. This project first defines the term “Secularism”, then puts light on the Secularist ideas followed by us and finally analyses the various critiques attached to it which have developed over time.

What is Secularism and Why Secularism?
“Secularism is the process by which sectors of society and culture are removed or separated out from religious symbols and institutions so as to constitute their own domains. The Secular state is a state that guarantees individual and corporate freedom of religion, deals with the individual as a citizen irrespective of his religion, is not constitutionally connected to a particular religion, nor seeks either to promote or interfere with religion.”
The Secularism in question is basically the interrelation between the state and multiple religious communities in India.
In addition to this, we also need to know why Secularism was needed for India in the first place. The following arguments are the most apt arguments which show the need for a Secular state. Firstly, the Indian society at large was a mixture of numerous cultures, religions, customs and languages. Thus if the dream of a single nation was to be fulfilled, it was important to imbibe the characteristics of public morality and tolerance. Secondly, even after the partition, there was a considerable amount of Muslims within the boundary of India. Gandhi and Nehru both wanted the majority, the Hindus, to be generous and accommodative towards the minority. The latter argument led to the Secularism professed by Nehru and the forefathers of this country.

Nehruvian Secularism:
In India, Jawaharlal Nehru has been the chief visionary and architect behind the relationship between the state and the religion. The Secularism associated with Nehru’s vision is often called as Nehruvian Secularism. Nehru didn’t have any belief or commitment towards any religion but he acknowledged the fact that India was pluralistic in religion, languages and customs and that it was necessary for the futuristic state to advocate nationhood by accommodating religious diversity and neutrality. He held that one’s religious affiliation was one’s private matter and thus, his civil rights shouldn’t be infringed because of such affiliation. One of the major principles of Nehruvian Secularism was that the state wouldn’t discriminate, on the grounds of religious or religious affiliations, against any person professing any particular form of religious faith and that there should not be any state patronage for any religion or extension of patronage to any one religion to the exclusion of or in preference to others.
Jawaharlal Nehru strived towards making Congress a non communal and pluralistic organisation which was committed to representative politics. Nehru believed that there would be no religious conflicts, only class conflicts once the project of nation hood was set up. He believed that organised religion always prevailed over the ill effects of communalism.
Nehru in 1961 pointed out that a secular state was the one which honoured all the faiths and gave equal and pragmatic opportunities to all those faiths. The only way by which this could have been achieved was if the religion played no part in it.
In the current political scenario, the Nehruvian Secularism is still espoused by many liberals and it has taken a meaning where, all religions are meaningful and should have a valid place in the nation. In addition to that, religion shouldn’t be a perquisite in ascertaining one’s nationality.

Analysis of the Critiques
Over the past decades Indian Secularism has come under the purview of sceptics. Critics often argue that Secularism hasn’t been able to achieve the goals which our forefathers had in their vision. It is widely held that the Indian version of Secularism or the Nehruvian Secularism model has collapsed. There have been broadly three distinct lines of arguments. a) Favouritism Critique:
This critique has been used to highlight and point out the various legal differences between various communities. Under this line of attack, it is held that under the disguise of Secularism, the Constitution really favours the Muslims. Particularly the differences in ‘personal laws’ have been focused upon. In the case of Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum, the Supreme Court passed the judgement in favour of Shah Bano. Being an election year, the Congress in a panicky enacted the Muslim Women Act, 1986. The Act was seen as discriminatory as it denied divorced Muslim women the right to basic maintenance which women of other faiths had recourse to under secular law.
The makers of the Indian Constitution wanted the uniformity in the matters of fundamental laws which was considered by Dr. Ambedkar in coalescing of the nation. However, this uniformity has been only put up in the Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution which are not enforceable by any court. In the Shah Bano judgement’ the Supreme Court strived towards bringing uniformity but the Rajeev Gandhi government failed to move in the direction of civil code with the asymmetric treatment of the judgement and enacted fresh bill which resulted in enhancing the separatist view.
This case has been cited repeatedly by Hindu political activists to showcase the claim that Hindus, the majority community, is being discriminated against in India, whereas the Muslims are allowed to have their special privileges in regards to their personal laws.
One of the problems with this reasoning is that, the Hindu Personal Laws weren’t overridden by the proposed idea of uniform civil code. The separate status of Hindu Personal laws was not harmed. The possibilities of polygamy were ruled out in the context of Hindu law not due to the imposing of uniform civil code on Hindus and not on Muslims but due to the views held by the majority of Hindu Nationalists at that time. The Hindu Personal law is still substantial in itself.
Thus, in the Shah Bano case, one must not forget that there was no case of favouritism. It was a case of unfairness towards the Muslim women and it hardly affected the Hindu men, who continuously cited this case as the one being unfair towards them.

b) The Prior Identity:
This critique argues that the identity of being an Indian is derived from the constitutive elements of separate identities. Under this line of argument, it is argued that the importance of religious identity is mixed with its importance in political context. It is asserted that any national identity has to be some form or the other form of the Hindu identity due to the majority of the population being Hindu. It is asserted that a homogeneous identity in the form of Hindu identity is necessary for the basis of nationhood. It is insisted that an Indian identity has to be built upon the constitutive basis of different religious identities.
Mostly the assertion where the priority of religious identities is put forward is by the Religious Sectarians (or the Hindu Nationalists in recent times). In addition to this, the preferential treatment of religious identity is often derived from the philosophy of ‘nation- state’, where a statist orientation is given to the political unity across any religion or a community. It is asserted that this ideology is also responsible for the religious vote bank politics, where the votes are gathered on the basis of religious sentiments of the majority of people residing in the constituency.
Firstly, it is improper to consider that the basis of nationhood requires nation-state as one of its prerequisite. The presence of Nation States turned out to be detrimental during the British colonial rule towards the unity of people. Thus, once can’t make the same mistake of being under the illusion that nation-states would strive towards unity.
Secondly, the line of reasoning which requires one to be under the purview of Hindu identity to form the basis of nationhood is flawed too. India has the third largest Muslim Population in the world, not much less than Pakistan. Moreover, there is a substantial population of other religions too. Thus it would be odd to not consider the views of people from other religion. Hindu culture is so diverse in its beliefs, customs or religions that one also fails to notice that there are fairly different views between the Hindus themselves. One’s faith might not be similar to other’s faith, even after both of them are Hindus. Thus this form of reasoning too falls flat.

After analysing the various critiques of Secularism, we can conclude that given the heterogeneity of India, it is extremely difficult to find a political solution for the continuous displeasure of various sections of the societies. It is very hard to visualise any other form of Secularism model for India, which wouldn’t rupture the various social ideals, values and principles of this country which we have deeply cherished. One has to bear the fact that even after a tremendous heterogeneity India has defied all the odds, and hasn’t disintegrated into nation-states. It is the unity in the diversity which has acted as the cohesive force behind our existence. Thus, India shouldn’t get rid of its Secularism model until unless it gets its alternative viable model.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Secularism and its Critics, edited by Rajeev Bhargava ( Oxford India Paperbacks, 7th ed. 2008) 2. The Crisis of Secularism in India, by Anuradha Dingwaney Needham ( Duke University Press, 1st ed., 2007) 3. A Secular Agenda, by Aruna Shourie ( Harper Collins Publishers India, 1st ed., 1997)

[ 1 ]. D.E. Smith, India as a Secular State, (2011).
[ 2 ]. Stanley J. Tambiah, The Crisis Of Secularism in India, 418, 420 in Secularism and its Critics (Rajeev Bharagava., 7th ed., 2008).
[ 3 ]. Ibid.
[ 4 ]. D.E. Smith, India as a Secular State, (2011).
[ 5 ]. J. Nehru, Discovery of India, (1st ed., 2004).
[ 6 ]. J. Nehru, Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru 240 (1st ed., 1941).
[ 7 ]. Amartya Sen, Secularism and its Discontents. 454, 457 in Secularism and its Critics (Rajeev Bharagava., 7th ed., 2008).
[ 8 ]. (1985 SCR (3) 844)
[ 9 ]. John H. Mansfield, ‘The Personal Laws or a Uniform Civil Code?’ , Robert Baird (ed.), Religion and Law in Independent India (Manohar: Delhi, 1993)
[ 10 ]. The Constitution of India, Article 37.
[ 11 ]. Supra note 7.
[ 12 ]. Amartya Sen, Secularism and its Discontents. 454, 457 in Secularism and its Critics (Rajeev Bharagava., 7th ed., 2008)
[ 13 ]. Ibid.
[ 14 ]. Top Ten Countries with Largest Muslim Population, maps of world, available at, last seen on 03/09/2014.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Secularism and Interfaith Marriages

...Sociology Z103 | SECULARISM AND INTERFAITH MARRIAGE: interpretation of the secularism scale of iba students and its correlation with interfaith marriage | Sociology Z103 Prepared For: AI Mahbub Uddin Ahmed Prepared By: Farzana Yasmin Rivi BBA-17(B) Roll: RQ 53 Date: 15/07/10 Institute of Business Administration (IBA) University of Dhaka Institute of Business Administration (IBA) University of Dhaka Dear Sir: Here is the report which you asked to submit for the requirement of undergraduate course- Sociology. The report topic is “Secularism and Interfaith Marriage: Interpretation of the Secularism Scale of IBA Students and its Correlation with Interfaith Marriage”. As per the requirement of the report, it is based on both primary and secondary information. The primary information was collected through survey and the main sources of secondary information are various journal articles on the topic. I would like to mention that I carried out this entire report under your supervision and that this report has not been formerly presented in IBA to the best of my knowledge. I also pledge that either today or in the future, no part of this report may be reproduced without your written permission. I sincerely hope that I was able to fulfil the course requirement successfully through the submission of this report. I have put in my best effort to contribute towards the successful completion of this report. I earnestly hope that you will accept this report......

Words: 5862 - Pages: 24

Premium Essay


...Western sciences to support their arguments. Meanwhile, other people maintain that man, in order to bear the consequences of his deeds, is repeatedly regenerated in this world. If he lives a bad life, he will assume in the next generation the shape of some animal, such as a dog or a cat, or some lower kind of man. If he acts have been good, he will be reborn as a man in higher class. This view point is found in some Eastern religions. There is a third view point which calls for believe in the Day of Judgement, the Resurrection, man’s presences in Divine Court, and the meting out of reward and punishment. This is the common belief of the all Prophet. From the above, we could said that Hereafter could be derived a lot responds. This is because many of them had some wrong conceptions towards Hereafter. Therefore, we had been assigned to do this topic in order to understand the differences between secularism and Islamic viewpoint regarding the Hereafter. In addition, this is to correct these wrong conceptions and help those who want to know more about the Hereafter. Allah said, “And the stupor of death comes in truth, ‘This was the thing which thou was trying to escape!” (50: 19) In our...

Words: 5568 - Pages: 23

Premium Essay

What It Looks Like

...The Identity of Religious Minorities in Non-Secular States: Jews in Tunisia and Morocco and Arabs in Israel Author(s): Mark A. Tessler Source: Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Jul., 1978), pp. 359-373 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 13/07/2009 10:36 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Cambridge University...

Words: 7111 - Pages: 29

Free Essay

University Work

...Engr. 297A Prof. Bruce P. Lusignan War and Peace: An Analysis Of The Kashmir Issue And A Possible Path To Peace By: Iveshu R. Bhatia Dated: Friday, December 3rd 2004 Table of Contents Topic Pg. no. An introduction to Kashmir and a history of the region…………….1 Why is Kashmir so important? …………………………………………3 Analysis of terrorism in Kashmir and the India-Pakistan dispute…7 Other factors supporting the rise of terrorism in Kashmir……….10 Impact of terrorism and the proxy war……………………………..12 Potential steps towards a peaceful solution………………………..15 Latest developments………………………………………………….18 Appendix I: List of Works Cited/Bibliography……………….......20 Appendix II: Map of the region.……………………………………21 Appendix III: Copy of instrument of Accession of Kashmir to India…22 War and Peace: An Analysis Of The Kashmir Issue And A Possible Path To Peace Today, the word Kashmir has become synonymous with death, destruction and religious genocide in South Asia. Although the roots of the Kashmir issue lie in a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, it has evolved into a multi-faceted issue over the years. This paper discusses this dispute, its history, its effects and potential steps towards a peaceful resolution. An introduction to Kashmir and a history of the......

Words: 5745 - Pages: 23

Premium Essay


...Feminism in Multicultural Societies An analysis of Dutch Multicultural and Postsecular Developments and their Implications for Feminist Debates Eva Midden A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment for the requirements of the degree of PhD at the University of Central Lancashire May 2010       Student Declaration Concurrent registration for two or more academic awards I declare that while registered as a candidate for the research degree, I have not been registered candidate or enrolled student for another award of the University or other academic or professional institution Material submitted for another award I declare that no material contained in the thesis has been used in any other submission for an academic award and is solely my own work Signature of Candidate Type of Award School ___PhD_________________________________ ___Centre for Professional Ethics___________ 1   Abstract It was long assumed that both multiculturalism and feminism are connected to progressive movements and hence have comparable and compatible goals. However, both in academia and in popular media the critique on multiculturalism has grown and is often accompanied with arguments related to gender equality and/or feminism. According to political scientist Susan Moller Okin for example there are fundamental conflicts between our commitment to gender equality and the desire to respect the customs of minority cultures or religions. If we agree that......

Words: 97145 - Pages: 389

Premium Essay

Democracy in Iran and Turkey

...Comparison and Contrast between the Evolution of Democracy in Iran and Turkey, from 1900 to the Present. Name: Institution: Date: Please write on top of each of your exams its exact title as its appear below, making sure your answers are itemized (i.e., answer the points ONE BY ONE, and not combine them). ITEMIZE YOUR ANSWERS  Mid Term Exam Compare and contrast the evolution of democracy in Iran and Turkey, from 1900 to present. In process of writing your exam, you must provide the following A history of democratization process in (1) Iran (two pages) Comparison and Contrast between the Evolution of Democracy in Iran and Turkey, from 1900 to the Present A History of Democratization Process in Iran Iran has had some important movements that lead towards democracy from the year 1900 to present. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Iran experienced protests and disagreements against the foreign intervention and Qajar. Patriotic opinions of the religious classes established a Constitutional Movement that took place from 1905 to 1911. An alliance consisting of ulama bazaaris and fellow thinkers forced Qajar Shah to pass a constitution to enact a parliament 1906. The introduction of the constitution limited the absolutist rule powers. After the discovery of oil in 1908 in Britain, Qajar Shah Position and military power weakened. Some artists were in Europe to study and master academic paintings and upon their return; they found fine arts academies (Arjomand, 2008). During......

Words: 2318 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

A Critical Analysis of Evolution of Cooperative Federalism and Obstacles Ahead for Its Development

...V SEMESTER B.A.LL.B.(HONS.) COURSE  ARTICLE SUBMISSION A Critical Analysis of Evolution of Cooperative Federalism and Obstacles Ahead for Its Development For the academic year 2014-15  Prepared & Submitted by: Submitted To : Bharat Singh (12BAL112) Ms. Alinkrita Tripathi Acknowledgment This study is the culmination of the efforts of a number of individuals and organizations. I gratefully acknowledge the support and inspiration of which helped me to accomplish this project. I gratefully acknowledge all the sources from which this report has been enriched. Though I have taken all efforts to make the report flawless, I take responsibility for any mistake appearing inadvertently. DECLARATION I hereby declare that the project work entitled “A Critical Analysis of Evolution of Cooperative Federalism and Obstacles Ahead for Its Development” submitted to the Institute of Law Nirma University, is a record of an original work done by me under the guidance of Ms. Alinkrita Tripathi who is the Assistant Professor in ILNU. The results embodied in this thesis have not been submitted to any other University or Institute for the any award or degree. A Critical Analysis of Evolution of Cooperative Federalism and Obstacles Ahead for Its Development India is the largest democracy which is reason of pride for every Indian. Democracy always reflects view of majority, so now question arises what about those people who are in minority or culturally diverse but still they......

Words: 2742 - Pages: 11

Free Essay

Nuclear Armed Iran

...only in the region but in the world at large. Aside from Turkey, which is really the only other significant non-Arab state actor in the region, Iran and Israel represent deviations from the norm of mostly Sunni Muslim and ethnically Arab states in the Middle East. Still, what stands out as truly unique in the modern Middle East is the Iranian-Israeli connection, a facet of international politics unparalleled elsewhere in terms of Persian-Jewish contact and cooperation spanning thousands of years, overall international interdependence, and the abrupt switch from amity to enmity as of 1979. While the international media has cast an ever-stronger spotlight on the Iranian-Israeli relationship in the past five or ten years, it has long deserved closer scrutiny. For two countries to be as intertwined at the political, military, economic and societal levels – like Iran and Israel from the 1950s through to the 1970s – and then to become and remain bitter and irreconcilable enemies – thanks to a radical Iranian regime change in 1979 – is virtually unheard of in the realm of international politics. This phenomenon begged further study, and was spurred along by the need for an impartial and inclusive analysis to mitigate the perpetual barrage of news headlines and journal articles prophesying the inevitable showdown between the two states (and...

Words: 8408 - Pages: 34

Free Essay

Article 29

...Supreme Court of India D. A. V. College Bathinda, Etc vs State Of Punjab & Ors on 5 May, 1971 Equivalent citations: 1971 AIR 1731, 1971 SCR 677 Author: P J Reddy Bench: Sikri, S.M. (Cj), Mitter, G.K., Hegde, K.S., Grover, A.N., Reddy, P. Jaganmohan PETITIONER: D. A. V. COLLEGE BATHINDA, ETC. Vs. RESPONDENT: STATE OF PUNJAB & ORS. DATE OF JUDGMENT05/05/1971 BENCH: REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN BENCH: REDDY, P. JAGANMOHAN SIKRI, S.M. (CJ) MITTER, G.K. HEGDE, K.S. GROVER, A.N. CITATION: 1971 AIR 1731 1971 SCR 677 ACT: Punjabi University Act, 1961 (35 of 1961), s. 4(3)- University making Punjabi the sole medium of Instruction and examination-Action ultra vires the power conferred by section-Also infringes rights of religious minority to conserve their script and administer their institutions. HEADNOTE: The petitioners are educational institutions founded by the D.A.V. College Trust and Society registered under the Societies Registration Act as an association comprised of Arya Samajis. These institutions were, before the reorganisation of the State of Punjab in 1966, affiliated to the Punjab University constituted under the Punjab University Act, 1947. The Punjabi University was constituted in 1961 by the Punjabi University Act (35 of 1961). After the reorganisation, the Punjab Government under s. 5 (1) of the Act specified the areas in which the Punjabi's University exercised its power and notified the date for the purpose of the section. The effect of the......

Words: 85744 - Pages: 343

Free Essay


...islamic leviathan religion and global politics John L. Esposito, Series Editor University Professor and Director Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding Georgetown University islamic leviathan Islam and the Making of State Power Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr Islamic Leviathan Islam and the Making of State Power Ú seyyed vali reza nasr 1 2001 3 Oxford Athens Chennai Kolkata Nairobi New York Auckland Bangkok Bogotá Buenos Aires Cape Town Dar es Salaam Delhi Florence Hong Kong Istanbul Karachi Kuala Lumpur Madrid Melbourne Mexico City Mumbai Paris São Paul Shanghai Singapore Taipei Tokyo Toronto Warsaw and associated comapnies in Berlin Ibadan Copyright © 2001 by Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr Published by Oxford University Press, Inc., 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016 Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza, 1960 – Islamic leviathan : Islam and the making of state power / Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr. p. cm.—(Religion and global politics) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-19-514426-0 1. Malaysia—Politics and government. 2. Islam and politics—Malaysia. 3. Pakistan—Politics and......

Words: 112674 - Pages: 451

Premium Essay


...A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.[note 1] Many religions have narratives, symbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people may derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle. Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of a deity, gods, or goddesses), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.[1] The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or set of duties;[2] however, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is "something eminently social".[3] A global 2012 poll reports 59% of the world's population as "religious" and 36% as not religious, including 13% who are atheists, with a 9% decrease in religious belief from 2005.[4] On average, women are "more religious" than men.[5] Some people follow multiple religions or multiple religious principles at the same time, regardless of whether or not the religious principles they follow......

Words: 7947 - Pages: 32

Free Essay


...DRAFT! Rule in Bensalem: Francis Bacon’s Island “Utopia” in his New Atlantis Evan M. Lowe University of North Texas Abbreviations The following abbreviations for Bacon’s works have been employed for in-text citations in the name of textual cleanliness. Each work refers to the cited publication in the bibliography. In cases where applicable (eg. New Organon, Advancement), I have also indicated the place in the text by markers common to all editions -- book number, chapter, section, aphorism, essay number. The page number in the cited edition follows a comma where such information is helpful. AL The Advancement of Learning DA de Dignitate et Augmentis Scientarum Essays Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral (1625) GI The Great Instauration ;NA New Atlantis NO Novum Organum PFB Philosophy of Francis Bacon Preface Preface to the Great Instauration PW Plan of the Work (in Weinberger 1989) WA Of the Wisdom of the Ancients INTRODUCTION Understanding political judgment in Baconian terms necessitates an investigation of the question of who rules in Bensalem, Bacon’s island “utopia” presented in his New Atlantis. Only by answering this question might one know where to look for one who either possesses or is in a position to exercise such judgment. By locating the individual(s) who exercise political power, one might begin to come to an understanding of the qualities, disposition, and capacity – both moral and intellectual – of one who exercises judgment...

Words: 9233 - Pages: 37

Premium Essay

Developmental Role

...(NGOs) in India. While voluntarism has been an age-old phenomenon, it is only in the last couple of decades that so much is being talked, written, debated and done about it. There is a good reason for this. Modern voluntarism is signicantly different from the conventional voluntarism in form, content, intent and impact. Conventional voluntarism was primarily aimed at charity and relief or at best, social welfare and social reform. It sprang out of religiosity, generosity and altruism. It was inspired by idealism rather than ideology [ B a x i 1986]. M o d e r n voluntarism, while incorporating some of the elements of conventional voluntarism, is based on ideology rather than mere idealism. It aims at achieving development and social justice rather than relief and welfare. Therefore, the tools, techniques, approaches and objectives of modern voluntarism differ from that of the conventional. Modern voluntarism strives to change the social, economic and political position of the poor, the deprived, the oppressed and the weak. In the final analysis, therefore, it aims at redistribution of power, status and wealth. W i t h i n this broad mission though, activities, approaches, ideologies, methods, forms of organisations, techniques and strategies differ widely. Some NGOs are large, others are small: some work directly with people at the grass roots level, others perform support functions of research, documentation and training. Some implement concrete development programmes,......

Words: 5535 - Pages: 23

Free Essay

Inheriting a Tradition: “Following in the Footsteps of Christ” in the Spirit of the Early Anabaptists

...Inheriting a Tradition: “Following in the Footsteps of Christ” in the Spirit of the Early Anabaptists For Arnold Snyder MTS 626A By Mary Lou Klassen 12 December, 2005 Inheriting a Tradition: “Following in the Footsteps of Christ”[1] in the Spirit of the Early Anabaptists. Introduction Walter Klaassen in a recent article posed the following question of Mennonites, “Should we call ourselves Anabaptist?”[2] That question has been an underlying current as we have explored the sea of early Anabaptist Spirituality in our course. Klaassen answers the question in the negative. His concern is to point out that the early Anabaptists “stood consciously against and challenged virtually everything their Christian culture took for granted.”[3] Yet, they were intent on reforming that culture, not separating from it. Besides lamenting that Mennonites have compromised with the current culture, he feels that our sectarian tendency is also misrepresenting the tradition. I am not as much interested in his emphasis on Christian unity as I am in the points he raises to develop his negative answer. His main point is that the early Anabaptists took a counter-cultural stance. He outlines that this position showed itself in four respects: a) A “[rejection of] all religious coercion” and a refusal that governments should have any role within the church”[4]; b) A “[rejection of] the emerging capitalist economic system …......

Words: 5518 - Pages: 23

Free Essay

Does Jesus Belong in Parliament

...DOES JESUS BELONG IN PARLIAMENT? AN EXAMINATION OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION PROVISIONS IN PUBLIC BODIES IN NEW ZEALAND, CANADA, AND THE UNITED STATES by ELIZABETH G. FOX 28 August 2009 1 I INTRODUCTION New Zealand does not have a state religion in the way that other countries do.1 The Church of England, for example, has its doctrine and prayer book ratified by Parliament and has the Queen as supreme authority over both ecclesiastical and civil matters.2 However, the central legislators of this country listen to the Speaker of the House open each Parliamentary session with the following prayer.3 Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Is this appropriate in a country that professes no state church and the tolerance of all religions equally?4 Religious content has historically infiltrated governing and administrative bodies. However, with the cultural disestablishment of Christianity and the emergence of toleration for all faiths, there continues to be the presence and preference of a small set of religions by the State. The degree to which religion interacts with the State varies with...

Words: 12700 - Pages: 51